After the attacks on two Coptic churches on Sunday, Christians in Egypt said they will attend services on Easter Sunday despite the risk of more attacks.
The bombings on St. Mark's Coptic Church and St. George's Coptic Church on Palm Sunday have not dampened the spirits of the believers. On the other hand, they declared they will not give in to the spirit of fear but will attend Easter services to worship Jesus.
"We love Egypt. We will not leave Egypt. We cast out the spirit of fear by the power of His love," the believers wrote in a letter received by Open Doors USA. "We will go to churches on Easter and beyond to worship the Name of Jesus."
"We will spread out the light we were given by His grace, in every street, village, town and city," the letter continued. "We will keep praying for all Egyptians, especially for those dark minded, brainwashed and miss-led so that our Father may cleanse their minds and hearts."
However, other churches have decided not to hold the usual Easter celebrations so they could mourn the death of the more than 40 people who died in the bombings.
The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese announced their Easter service will not be the same as that of the previous years. In contrast to previous celebrations, this year's Easter service will have no "festive manifestations" and will focus mostly on prayer out of respect for those who lost their lives in the attack, The Independent reported.
Minya, located south of Cairo, is home to the largest number of Coptic Christians in Egypt: 40 percent of the city is Christian. Thus, persecution of believers in this part of the country is not new to the church.
Last year, extremists launched several attacks on Coptic Christians in the city, including one against an elderly woman who was stripped of her clothes and dragged on the streets naked because of rumors that her son was having an affair with a Muslim woman.
The attacks at the time were so great that Bishop Makarios said the church was being pushed beyond its limits.
"We are at a breaking point," Bishop Makarios said, according to The New York Times. "People can't put up with any more of this."
Meanwhile, the government has provided increased security outside churches ahead of Easter Sunday. Police officers stand guard on all church entrances, and people and cars in the vicinity are thoroughly searched, according to the Associated Press.
Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared a three-month state of emergency after Sunday's twin bombings.