Pope Tawadros II has confirmed that the newly-formed Council for Egypt’s Churches has nothing to do with politics, and is primarily concerned with the unity of the Churches, their activities and services
Pope Tawadros II has confirmed that the newly-formed Council for Egypt’s Churches has nothing to do with politics, and is primarily concerned with the unity of the Churches, their activities and services.
The council, which has been formed of the Coptic Orthodox, Coptic Catholic, Evangelical, Episcopal and Greek Orthodox Churches of Egypt, held its first meeting on 18 February at St Mark Cathedral in Abassiya, Cairo. Representing the Churches are Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Chruch, Anba Ibrahim Ishaq of the Coptic Catholic Church, Rev. Dr Safwat al-Bayadi of the Evangelical Church, Pope Theodorus II of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Bishop Mounir Hanna of the Episcopal Church.
The heads of the Churches, stressed that the council aims at enhancing the service of the Churches in Egypt and has nothing to do with politics. It is assigned with coordinating between Egypt##s Churches, promoting unity between the followers of the Christian faith in Egypt and promoting Muslim-Christian dialogue. The five Churches agreed that the presidency of the council will rotate among them, and that Father Bishoi Hilmy of Anba Antonious Orthodox Church in Shubra, Cairo is the secretary of the council.
The joint statement issued by the council upon its foundation read: “It has been a life-long dream to establish a council for the Churches in Egypt to achieve mutual love and cooperation between them, to support Christian work and to serve the homeland. The council has thus been formed to serve the Church and the homeland, but has nothing to do with politics. The new council will cooperate with all recognised Church councils, such as the World Council of Churches, the Middle East Council of Churches and All Africa Conference of Churches”.
It was Pope Shenouda III who initiated the idea in April 2010, which was very well-received by the other Churches in Egypt. In 2012 he announced the project in his Wednesday weekly meeting with the congregation at St Mark’s in Cairo.
Father Rafiq Greiche of St Cyril Church for Greek Catholic and head of the media office of the Catholic Church in Egypt said that the Churches signed the council##s protocol at St Mark’s after reading several relevant chapters from the Holy Bible.
In the word he gave in the council’s first meeting, Pope Tawadros II said: “We meet today to express our mutual love, service and support. Love is what gathered us today, with hope that it should translate into cooperation and service.”
Dr Bayadi said the council was to testify for God and the Church before the community. “We have been holding regular prayers for 30 years for the unity of the Church. God has today answered our prayers.”
Pope Ishaq Ibrahim said that the meeting was the fruit of working to know one another better. “Today, we are restoring the crack in the One Body of Christ’s Church,” said Bishop Nicholas of the Greek Orthodox Church. And for his part, Bishop Mounir Hannadescribed the meeting as an act of ‘healing’ of the Lord##s Church. According to Hanna, every Church participates in the Christian heritage in its own way. “The Council of Egyptian Churches will enhance Christian-Christian dialogue and bring forth the fruits of unity and love.”
23 February 2013