Prayer meeting to be held for Egyptian attack victims

5:43 pm on 27 May 2017

The Coptic Christian community in Auckland is meeting at 7pm this evening to pray for the victims of a deadly attack in Egypt.

Relatives of killed Coptic Christians grieve by the coffins during the funeral at Abu Garnous Cathedral in the north Minya town of Maghagha

Relatives of the Coptic Christians killed in the attack grieve by the coffins during a funeral. Photo: AFP

Twenty-eight people were killed - many of them children - when masked gunmen opened fire on a convoy of Coptic Christians yesterday.

The prayer meeting will be held at the St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Birkdale on the North Shore.

Father Bishoy Mekhaiel said such attacks were becoming more common, and the Coptic community was in mourning.

What is the Coptic Christian faith?

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the main Christian Church in Egypt. While most Copts live in Egypt, the Church has about a million members outside the country.

Copts believe that their Church dates back to about 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark is said to have visited Egypt. The head of the Church is called the Pope and is considered to be the successor of St Mark.

This makes it one of the earliest Christian groups outside the Holy Land.

The Church separated from other Christian denominations at the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) in a dispute over the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ.

RNZ / BBC