By BosNewsLife News Center
VATICAN CITY/ABUDJA/TEHRAN (BosNewsLife)– Pope Benedict XVI on Easter Sunday condemned discrimination and persecution of Christians around the world, just as news emerged that dozens of people were killed in an attack near Nigerian churches.
“Christ is hope and comfort in a particular way for those Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution,” he said in his Easter message from the Vatican.
It came while officials confirmed that at least 38 people had died Sunday, April 8, that a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives Sunday morning on a busy road near Nigerian churches holding Easter services killing at least 38 people.
Witnesses said the explosion badly damaged the nearby All Nations Christian Assembly Church and the ECWA Good News Church.
The explosive-laden car attempted to go into the compound of the churches before it detonated, but was blocked by barriers in the street and was turned away by a security guard as police approached, news reports said.
BOKO HARAM ATTACKS
Islamic militant group Boko Haram, or “Western education is a sin” was believed to be behind the blast engulfed a group of motorcycle taximen and rattled hotels and homes.
The pope said however that amid suffering the “Risen Christ is a wellspring of hope” for Christians “in all situations of human suffering and injustice.”
Pope Benedict XVI also urged an end of the violence in Syria, where Christians faced a difficult Easter as fighting rages between pro-government forces and rebels in a
conflict that has killed thousands.
He also spoke while 12 Christians in Iran, faced a court Easter Sunday on charges “crimes against the order” in the northeastern city of Rasht, accusations that local
believers have linked to their Christian activities.
Among those standing trial were Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and his wife Anahita Khadeimi, said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advoacy group told BosNewsLife earlier.
Others were identified as Mahmoud Khosh-Hal and his wife Hava Saadetmend, Amir Goldoust, Mina Goldoust, Zhaina Bahremand, Fatemah Modir-Nouri, Mehrdad Habibzade, Milad Radef, Behzad Taalipasand and Amin Pishkar.
Over 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation, according to Open Doors, an international Christian advocacy and aid group serving “the persecuted Church.”