The following came through to us a few days ago. It seemed timely, topical and very heartening, and we thought you would appreciate it.
Peter and Nancy
The following is reproduced from the Bible Society of Egypt e-Newsletter dated 13 March 2013
Yesterday a new Patriarch for the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt was installed.
Following his ordination, Patriarch Ibrahim shared that upon his election to this task, he had chosen II Corinthians 5:18 as the theme of his ministry: “He has given us the ministry of reconciliation”. It was a very encouraging beginning as this young leader explained that his call is to help people be reconciled with God, with man and with society. The Catholic Church in Egypt, though small in number, has tremendous impact through its schools and extensive social service program for Christians and Muslims across the nation.
Many church leaders attended, including Pope Tawadros of the Orthodox Church. Half way through the event the audience was stunned when the newly elected Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros, walked in with five Coptic Orthodox Bishops. Never in the history of Egypt has an Orthodox Pope attended the installation of a Catholic Patriarch. The mainly Catholic audience was hysterical; clapping, cheering and weeping for joy at this historical unprecedented gesture of good will by the leader of the majority church in Egypt.
At a time when Egyptian Christians are extremely discouraged by the fundamentalist Muslim leadership of the nation and feel marginalized and threatened, it was wonderful for two of the key leaders of the Egyptian Church to express their solidarity for one another and share a common vision for effective witness and the co-existence of all in Egypt.
In his moving address, Pope Tawadros congratulated the Catholic Church for the appointment of the new Patriarch and affirmed his solidarity with them at this time. Over the years there has been much tension between the Orthodox Church in Egypt and Catholics and Protestants who feel disregarded or even snubbed by that church. But yesterday was proof that the new leader of the Orthodox Church in Egypt is intent on reversing this trend. As a Bible Society we were delighted that Patriarch Ibrahim wrote an Introduction to the Gospel of John which we had specially printed for that occasion and which was distributed to everyone in the church including all the Government and Army officials and the political party leaders in attendance.
So as you continue to hear bad news from Egypt in the media, please be reassured that God is still at work in this country. There are committed, creative and bold leaders in our churches who are determined to continue to witness for Jesus Christ and to remain in this country as faithful citizens and devoted followers of their Lord. Our context reminds us of the people of God exiled in Babylon being exhorted by the Prophet Jeremiah “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).
With thanks to God and much praise,
Bible Society of Egypt
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