Cairo (AsiaNews )
- As debate rages in Egypt on the new Constitution and the recognition of full
citizenship to the Copts , the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros has ordained
18 new priests who will serve in parishes especially in Cairo. The
ordination ceremony was held on November 14 at the Cathedral of St. Mark in
Cairo in front of thousands of people. Among
the ordained only one priest will go abroad in the Diocese of St. Mark
in Chicago (USA), home to a large majority of the Coptic community in the
Diaspora with over 184 parishes.
Since his election on 5 November 2012, Tawadros II has ordained a total of 38 priests and two bishops. This month's ordinations come at a critical period for the plight of Christians in Egypt . They are the first after the major attacks against the religious minority at the hands of Islamists. Between 14 and 17 August extremists have destroyed at least 80 churches and two hundred religious and private buildings. On November 22 , extremists opened fire on the faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church of al- Waaraq ( Giza ) killing four people , including a girl of only 8 years of age.
The authorities of the Coptic Church , which represents almost all of the 9 million Egyptian Christians, issued a statement marking the ordinations, reaffirming the need to give full rights to the Christian minority, which suffers from severe restrictions compared to the Muslim majority. On November 10 , representatives of the Coptic community organized a conference to put pressure on the Constituent Assembly to recognize representation in parliament for the Copts, threatening not to support the drafting of the new Constitution.