Joint trip by church and mosque congregations to new capital

23-04-2019 11:59 PM

Nash’at Abul-kheir

Egypt’s new capital, which is situated some 50km northeast Cairo and is still under construction, is a fovourite destination for trips by groups of Egyptians from all over the country.

The capital is home to two religious edifices described as the largest in the Middle East: one is the church of the Nativity of Christ, the other is al-Fatah al-Aleem mosque. The church and mosque lie close to each other. The two places of worship were simultaneously opened by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Coptic Christmas Eve this year, 6 January 2019, a first in Egypt, since it signals they are both houses of God equal to each other.

Among the trips to the new capital was a recent one organised jointly by the church of the Holy Virgin in Marsa Matrouh and the Islamic al-Azhar alumni association in the same town. Marsa Matrouh lies on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, some 300km west of Alexandria. Joining in the trip were 26 young people and four supervisors, as well as Sheikh Muhammad Mazroua who heads the Matrouh branch of al-Azhar institution, and Father Matta Zakariya of the Holy Virgin’s in Matrouh.

The trip also included a visit to the Monastery of Anba Mousa (St Moses the Black) on the Alamein desert highway.

Fr Matta and Sheikh Mazroua had planned the trip to join their respective congregations in an activity that would foster friendship and goodwill among Muslims and Copts. The plan was an obvious success since an assessment questionnaire filled by the participants at the end of the day revealed that everyone was happy with the experience. All said they had made new friends whom they valued, and expressed interest in further joint visits and activities.

Sheikh Mazroua and Fr Matta thanked Matrouh Governor Magdy al-Gharabli for supporting the idea and the trip by providing a bus at the governorate’s expense for the trip.

Watani International

23 April 2019


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