Egypt’s Ecumenical Committee for Youth celebrated Christmas yesterday, Saturday 16 December 2017, with a concert at the Coptic Catholic church of St Anthony in Faggala, central Cairo.
Fr Boulos Garas, the church pastor, welcomed the attendants: representatives of the Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Churches in Egypt. Among them were head of Egypt’s Ecumenical Committee, Moussa Mehanni; regional secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), Ayman Karam; and Magdoline Fawzy, member of the Ecumenical Committee and representative of the Orthodox Church.
The concert started with a selection of the famous Orthodox Kiahk Praises chanted by the deacon choir of St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Heliopolis, led by George Latif. Kiahk is the Coptic month at the end of which comes the Feast of the Nativity, and it is celebrated with evening services of traditional praises sung to singular melodies, that celebrate Christ’s Incarnation through the Holy Virgin. A sermon was delivered by Rev. Ernest of the Evangelical church in Qanater.
Mr Mehanni told Watani that the ecumenical committee was keen on celebrating Christmas with an event that embraced the three main Churches in Egypt. “The Catholic Church opened its doors to host the event,” he said, “the Orthodox Church sang its praises, and the Evangelical priest delivered the sermon. The aim was ‘to be all one’ as Christ wished us to be.”
Fr Boulos said it was the first time his church hosts an ‘ecumenical’ celebration. “We are happy to accept all, away from any doctrinal differences,” he said.
The same outlook was confirmed by Ms Fawzy, who said that the ecumenical concept was based on that an individual is rooted in his or her original Church, but branches out to accept other Churches in brotherly, mature, understanding love which accepts the other.
The ecumenical movement, she reminded, was launched in the Coptic Orthodox Church in the 1960s and 70s by Bishop Anba Samuel who died in 1981, and continues to thrive to this day under Youth Bishop Anba Moussa.
17 December 2017