Date: June 8th, 2020
Beloved children of the Diocese of Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada, Peace and
grace to you.
We are sure that you have all noticed the current and hostile climate in the United States stem- ming from the murder of George Floyd. This senseless act of hate has shaken us – and most of the world – to the core. We understand that the issue at large is not about the specific circum- stances of Mr. Floyd, but rather about the systemic discrimination and hate that the Black com- munity has faced for centuries now. The Coptic Orthodox Church strongly stands against all forms of discrimination, violence, hatred and racism towards any and all humans. For we have been taught in the Holy Bible, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). We firmly believe that all lives are significant and equal as God created all humanity equally in His image and likeness. This is what makes us all special.
While we are all in immense pain caused by this injustice, we see this as an opportunity to strive for unity amongst humanity. The factors that differentiate one individual from another do not need to be a source of division and pain. Humanity is only strong when there is oneness of heart. If discrimination, hatred, and judgement are to be emancipated, it is up to our race – the human race, through the grace of God, to become one in pursuit of justice and peace and continue “[…] speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). While we continue to pray for those who peacefully protest injustice, we also pray that God softens the hearts of the oppressors world- wide; for only He can grant true reconciliation through His love and mercy.
The events over the past few days around the globe remind us of one of the most important commandments of all: to love our neighbours as ourselves. As we continue in our pursuit of jus- tice and equality, let us pray that our brothers and sisters are pursuing change with justice, jus- tice with wisdom and wisdom with love. In all of this, let our prayer be said with King David when he wrote in Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” We are to live in peace, equality and harmony with one another to ultimately achieve God’s purpose for us all, unison with Him.
I pray that God grant us all a repentant heart to identify any sources of hatred within us and to strive for justice and equality in our own communities.
Bishop of the Diocese of
Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada