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Palm Sunday Massacre: Days Before His Death, Church Leader Predicted He Would Be 'Martyr in Heaven' Says Wife

( [email protected] ) Apr 14, 2017 09:12 AM EDT
The widow of an Egyptian Christian killed during ISIS' Palm Sunday bombings has revealed that prior to her husband's death, he predicted he would be soon be among the "martyrs in heaven".
Michael Nabil Ragheb, Sara, and Priscilla. Open Doors USA

The widow of an Egyptian Christian killed during ISIS' Palm Sunday bombings has revealed that prior to her husband's death, he predicted he would be soon be among the "martyrs in heaven".

Speaking to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, Sara Ragheb reflected on the faith and courage of her husband, Michael Nabil Ragheb, a deacon in Saint George church in Tantawho was among 49 people killed in twin attacks on churches in Egypt last week.

"Michael had sensed that something like this was going to happen," Sara said of the attacks, which were later claimed by ISIS. "The day before, on our daughter's 3rd birthday, he told us he thought he would soon be among the martyrs in heaven. He also told me and my daughter that he would be missing us."

The day of the attacks, Michael asked his wife and daughter, Priscilla, to sit at the last benches, instead of close to him, in front of the church.

"I was a bit surprised about that," Sara said. "But looking back, I know that it was God's will."

Michael then put on his deacon rope and went to the front of the church, where he was in charge of the singing that day. He asked his wife to wait for him after the service - but he never came back.

"It was about ten past 9; it was in the middle of the mass," Sara recalled. "All of the sudden, I heard the sound of a big explosion, the church shook like there was an earthquake going on. The smoke filled the church, and it became dark while I heard people screaming. I was screaming, too. I was screaming the name of my husband and rushed to the place of the deacon choir, where I hoped to find him alive."

Sara told Open Doors that the carnage she witnessed on her way to find her husband of four years "was horrible, like a massacre had just taken place."

"The bodies of dead church members and even body parts were scattered among pools of blood, she said. "Then I saw my husband. I was in shock. He was just lying there, in a pool of blood like the others. Gone to heaven like he had sensed would happen."

Despite the tragic way her husband died, Sara said she is at peace knowing he is in Heaven with his Father.

"I loved him so much," she said. "Despite everything, God has put comfort, peace and great grace in my heart."

She added, "My husband lived a life of heaven on earth. He was always praying and reading the Bible. I am happy for him. He is in a good place now- in Heaven- in front of the throne of grace. He is there with Jesus."

Sunday's bombings are the latest attack by the extremist group, which recently vowed to step up its attacks against Egypt's Christian minority, who make up just 10% of the country's population.

The group also claimed responsibility for the December bombing of a church adjacent to St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, one of the most symbolic religious sites for Egyptian Copts. That explosion killed 30 worshippers and injured dozens.

In Minya, southern Egypt, the Coptic Church cancelled its Easter celebrations to mourn those lost in the Palm Sunday bombings.

Tags : Palm Sunday, Palm Sunday bomb, ISIS, Palm Sunday massacre, Jesus, Heaven, martyr, coptic christian