The Coptic Orthodox Church yesterday issued the following statement regarding the draft law proposed by the government for the building and restoring of churches:
“On Wednesday 24 August the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church held a special meeting to discuss the draft law which the Egyptian Churches had helped draft a few months and which should be shortly placed before the House of Representatives. Pope Tawadros II presided over the meeting in which 105 metropolitan and bishop took part, out of a total 126 who are the members of the Holy Synod.
“In context of the recent meetings and discussions on the draft law, which took place with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and Minister of Legal Affairs Magdy al-Agati; the ten items of the draft law and the latest changes in them were thoroughly discussed and debated.
“The Coptic Orthodox Church, after exchanging opinion on the draft law and reaching agreement with the other Churches in Egypt, and in all good faith, declares that an agreement has been reached on a final draft law to be approved by the Cabinet next week and accordingly presented to the House of Representatives shortly afterwards.
“Laws are ultimately texts that should be applied not literally but with open minds and awareness, to preserve the peace and unity of Egyptians, as well as the sympathy and compassion that should shape a future of equality and justice.”
The statement went on to applaud the historic coexistence of Copts and Muslims in Egypt, and to thank all officials, legal experts, writers, intellectuals, politicians, and media persons who made proposals or contributions that served to help shape the draft law in its final form.
“We pray that the law should constitute a step on the path of building a modern Egypt,” the statement concluded. “We understand that the first years of its application will be measure of its effectiveness, validity, and respect for the other. We hope its implementation would give rise to no problems on the ground.
“The Church is in the hands of Christ the Lord the Pantocrator who promised: ‘Lo, I am with you always to the end of the days.’ (Matt 28: 20)”
25 August 2016