A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Imbaba: An Ominous Calendar Coincidence

If things weren't bad enough . . . I just stumbled on something tonight that I have not yet seen mentioned in general press accounts in Egypt or elsewhere, in English or Arabic, though I'm sure some Coptic religious sites must have picked up on it.

The killings, Coptic church burning, and violence last Saturday evening in Imbaba coincided with the eve of Sunday, May 8, which corresponds to the date 30 Barmouda (Parmouti) in the ancient Coptic calendar. That is the Feast of the Martyrdom of Saint Mark the Evangelist, Apostle of Egypt and first Patriarch/Pope of the Coptic Church. The violence against Copts on the eve of the Feast of the Martyrdom of their traditional founder is going to have a profound symbolic religious meaning for at least some Copts, and adds to the inflammatory nature of these clashes. I'm sure this was referred to in many  Sunday sermons in churches throughout Egypt.

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