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Church reopens days after deadly bombing

Scorch marks and scars on marble columns and stone walls of St Peter and St Paul's Church have been left in remembrance of the attack and victims, on Sunday 11th December.

Speaking with Premier Christian Radio, General Bishop of the Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, Bishop Angaelos, said that was a symbolic move.

He said: "It was my view as well that some of that should be kept as a reminder, not of the pain, but of the resolve and a reminder that God's protection is still over His Church and His people."

Egypt's president instructed the construction department of the country's Armed Forces to repair and restore the place of worship by 7th January.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wanted the landmark to be ready to welcome Coptic Christians for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve this Saturday, however, it was handed back a week ahead of schedule last Friday.

Reacting to the president's response, Bishop Angaelos said: "I'm very reassured and very thankful for his reaction to that but, to add to that, I would expect the same of him if this were a mosque or a synagogue because I think places of worship cannot be attacked in this way, and citizens are citizens.

According to the Coptic news website, Watani, church-goers attending an evening service of prayer and praise at St Peter and St Paul's on Saturday were "engulfed in deep emotion mixed between the raw tragedy of the loved ones lost and the joy at having their church back in working order."

St Peter and St Paul's is close to St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, the seat of the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

Italian restoration specialists will continue to restore icons - which date to the early 20th century and were painted by Italian Primo Panciroli - at St Peter and St Paul's.

Members of the Egyptian Armed Forces repaired and restored the wooden roof, cracks in the walls, and damage to doors and windows, while chandeliers, pews and drapes were replaced.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi named 22-year-old Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed Mostafa as the suicide bomber.

Four other people have been arrested.

Click here to hear Bishop Angaelos speaking with Premier's Alex Williams:

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