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  • » 02/19/2013, 00.00

    EGYPT

    A Council of Churches is set up to continue Christ's mission



    Top Christian religious leaders met in Cairo yesterday, including Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Their goal is to unify all Christians to face the challenge of a country dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The new council is set up after a week of prayer for Christian unity across Egypt.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - A Council of Churches has been officially created. Egypt's top Christian religious leaders met at the Coptic Orthodox cathedral of Saint March in Cairo's al-Abbasiya neighbourhood to sign its constitution.

    Representatives from the country's five main denominations were present, namely the Coptic Orthodox Church, Catholic Church (Coptic, Greek Melkite, Maronite, Syrian, Chaldean, Armenian and Latin), Evangelical Church, Episcopalian Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

    In addition to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria were also present.

    The creation of this Council crowns a week of prayer for Christian unity that began on 10 February. Traditionally, the week is held at the end of January, but this year it was postponed because of the anniversary of the Arab Spring on 25 January.

    Prayers were said throughout the week in Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical, Episcopalian, Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches to fulfil the Chris's words: ". . . that they may be one, as we are one" (John, 17:22).

    "In light of the difficult moment Egypt is going through nowadays, we need to show solidarity, reinforce and sustain ourselves and put our hope in the living Christ (Tim, 2:4-9)," week organisers and Catholic Church spokesman Fr Rafic Greiche said. "Unity is an utmost necessity in order to pursue the Church's mission in bearing witness to the Christ".

    "Creed and belief have theologians, but we have charity and love and my heart is open to all," Patriarch Tawadros II said when he recently received the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops.

    This step will give hope to Egypt's Christians. Mutual support will give them strength, especially at a time when extreme fundamentalism rules society increasing divisions, discrimination and refusal of the other. (AA)

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    See also

    21/12/2004 EGYPT – ISLAM
    Coptic Patriarch in retreat to protest anti-Christian discrimination


    21/12/2004 EGYPT – ISLAM
    Forced conversions, church permits denied, Christians discriminated: An overview


    25/01/2012 EGYPT
    Tahrir Square flooded by people who want to continue the Jasmine Revolution
    Nagui Diamian, a young Catholic Coptic leader, talks about the youth protest a year since the demonstrations that led to the fall of President Mubarak. Thousands have arrived from all over Egypt to demand real change for the country, which is still in the hands of the military. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists try to monopolise the situation following their electoral victory.

    15/05/2008 BAHRAIN
    Manama planning to legalise unauthorised churches
    In the capital 18 communities operate without a permit and municipal authorities would like to legalise them. They will have to meet certain conditions like not harming or bothering their neighbours and explain where they get their money and how they spend it.

    02/06/2011 EGYPT – ISLAM
    New law on church and mosque construction
    New law should cut red tape for the construction of places of worship. “It is a good thing,” spokesman for the Catholic Church says, but a final appraisal must wait for the final version.



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