Excerpt of interview on CTV with Fr Philemon Guirges, Coptic Orthodox Priest who protected a soldier





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Published on Oct 21, 2011


Amazing story of Love and Sacrifice. Coptic Orthodox Priest Rev. Father Philemon Guirges explains his experience to defend a soldier from the chaos during the Maspero Massacre.

Shortly after military vehicles slammed into the crowd of peaceful demonstrators, many began to defend themselves against the escalating violence. One soldier was surrounded by demonstrators who had just witnessed fellow demonstrators attacked and massacred by the military. Fr. Philemon, who was moved by compassion and Christian love, and was called to witness his Faith in Christ by protecting this soldier.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless Abouna and the whole Church, and also bless all those who persecute the Faith, so that love, truth and peace may prosper in hearts. Lord, Save Your beloved. Amen.

Original video edited and uploaded by dolly2002d http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az8HgI...

English Dubbing Added.
Translation by Marina Hanna and Andy Bekhit.

[Abouna] The soldier, when he saw the people wanting to kill him, went back into the tank. So I felt sorry for him and thought he would die. And so I went a bit closer to him and told him "come out, don't be afraid", so he stuck his head out and said, "they will kill me"; but I told him "I will protect you". So he came out, and just ran towards me, into my arms and I took him in and shielded him with my arm. By the way, the soldier came out with his gun -- maybe thinking that it could protect him -- although within seconds it disappeared. Maybe to those who said that there were gunshots, it was with the gun belonging to that boy. Maybe.

[Host] Mmmm

[Abouna] I took the soldier into my arms and of course many many people gathered around us; of course. I protected his head, because the most important thing is to make sure nothing happens to his head. I took a hit here on my finger, which is swollen, and here there's another bruise.

[Host] Of course those who are angry were Christians so they wouldn't dare to harm you.

[Abouna] No of course not

[Host] So surely the beating lessened

[Abouna] And I held him because I knew my children would not harm me. So I kept hold of him and the soldier kept on telling me "Protect me, Abouna", "don't leave me, Abouna". And I felt that he is one of our children. I felt that Christ was telling me this, telling me that we have no violence and that we save those who hold onto us. And I felt at that point that he fell into my hands and everyone who falls in the Lord's hand He saves, and so I thought I am the Lord's son, I'm a priest present here and that's why whoever would fall into my hands I could not leave to die, even if that meant I would protect him, even if it meant those around us beat us both I would die with him. Because he fell into my hands (my care). Also, the people were telling me "Abouna, he doesn't deserve this, he should die", so I remembered Jesus when He was on the cross saying "Father, forgive them" while he was suffering. While they were beating Him, He was praying "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do". In fact, I kept on telling them that he was following orders, he doesn't know. And the soldier kept on repeating, "don't leave me, Abouna", holding on to my clothes while I was covering his head, but a part of his body was unprotected so the others could beat him. So I told him, lie down on the ground and I will lie on top of you so that no part of your body is unprotected.

[Host] Ya

[Abouna] Indeed, the soldier lay down on the ground and I on top of him, his leg stretched out with mine above it, even to the point that I took a hit with a stick, still determined that nothing would happen to this soldier. So when I fell onto the him I was worn out, because there was a lot of noise and turmoil/agitation, so I found favor in the eyes of the people and they told me "Abouna, we won't harm him"; but I told them I can't trust others won't harm him, but they reassured me they wouldn't do anything to him. I told them we have to deliver him to his superiors unharmed, we have to proclaim to them that our God is a God in whose hand anyone who falls will and must be unharmed, will be rescued and will be saved.

[Host] Truly, it is of greater mercy to fall in the hand of God rather than the hand of man.

[Abouna] By the way, when the soldier said "protect me, Abouna", I told him I would protect him and then I told him Christ will grant you salvation/save you. Yes, Christ will grant you salvation/save you. When the men insisted they wouldn't harm him I asked them if they would deliver him unharmed and they said they would. Four of them took him from me and made a circle around him.

[Host] They understood the message.

[Abouna] They did, and none of them even touched him and they delivered him to his troops and no one was able to lay a finger on him.


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