The Coptic Orthodox Church in Sydney has marked 20 years on the establishment of the first Coptic school in Sydney. The event was highlighted by a gala dinner held earlier this month and attended by Egypt’s Ambassador to Australia Mohamed Khairat and Consul Youssef Shawqi. Egyptian and Australian officials and members of the diplomatic corps were also at hand to share in the celebration. Also participating were Anba Pola, Bishop of Tanta and head of the Coptic schools council in Sydney; Anba Daniel, Bishop of Sydney; and Anba Danial, Abbot of Anba Shenouda Monastery in Sydney.
The recently published book Tareekh al-Madariss al-Qibteya wa Ingazatiha ala Madar Ishreen Aman (The History of Coptic Schools and their Achievements Over 20 years) by Dr Effat Shehata tells the story of how three Coptic schools were established in Sydney. Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Orthodox patriarch from 1971 to 2012, had recommend during a pastoral visit to Australia in the early 1990s the foundation of a school in Sydney to serve the Copts there as well as the wider Australian community. Father Khella Tawfiq, together with a team of Coptic Church laity founded the St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox College which opened in February 1996. In 1999 the St Mary & St Mina Coptic Orthodox College was established, followed by the St Bishoy Coptic Orthodox College in 2000; both were opened by Anba Pola.
Throughout the past years the three Coptic Orthodox schools proved themselves worthy partners in the Australian schooling system. In recent years they ranked 100th among 2200 schools in Sydney.
23 February 2016