Europe

France church attack: Prayer, solidarity and Christian imagery on social media

Image of Jesus Image copyright Professional Vector Art
Image caption This image of Jesus was posted with a simple message that terrorism kills

The killing of a priest in an attack on a church has horrified France - and many people have been sharing Christian imagery in a show of solidarity and sympathy.

In what has become a sadly familiar response to terror attacks in Europe, people used social media to express their shock and outrage.

But this time the emotional memes and hashtags also reflected the fact that a church was the target of an attack and an 84-year-old priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, was the victim.

Je suis pretre - I am a priest

The "I am" hashtag has become the default way of showing solidarity after it first emerged when gunmen attacked the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

Shortly after the attacks in Rouen, it reappeared again with many priests themselves being the first to use #JeSuisPretre - I am a Priest.

Image copyright @abbegaetan/Twitter
Image caption This tweet reads: "Mary put peace in our hearts"
Image copyright @appli_laquete/Twitter
Image caption This picture was posted with a bible quote: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Mt5, 43-44) #JesuisPretre #SaintEtienneDuRouvray

Others have shown solidarity with #JeSuisChretien - I am Christian - and #JeSuisCatholique - I am Catholic.

Image copyright @Cistercien_Fr
Image copyright @AymericBonnery/Twitter

Religious images

Images of Christ have also been shared as social media reflects on the murder of a defenceless, elderly priest.

Image copyright jhirel/Instagram
Image caption In memoriam father Jacques Hamel, 86 years old, killed in #france during The #mass. Pray for him, for them, for us. #jesuispretre #iampriest #foi #faith

Meanwhile many, sharing their sadness and shock, have been paying tribute to the Fr Hamel. The Vatican called the incident barbarous, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was among those who tweeted a call to prayer.

Image copyright @JustinWelby/Twitter
Image copyright Diana Rusk

By Rozina Sini, BBC's UGC and Social News Team

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