Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Easter greetings

Egypt’s top officials offered their best wishes to Christians and visited various churches to mark Easter Sunday, Michael Adel reports

Easter greetings
Easter greetings
Al-Ahram Weekly

Governors and men of religion, ministers and army chiefs, policemen and educators all sent notes or went in person to churches to express their compassion with their Christian compatriots on Easter.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was among those who congratulated Pope Tawadros II on the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection, also known as Easter Sunday.

Calling on God to bless and love all Egyptians on Easter, the president expressed his appreciation of the patriotic stance of the Copts. He said he was pleased to note the cohesion of the Egyptian people as a whole.

The president also sent a cable congratulating Coptic expatriates, offering them the season’s greetings and noting that all Egyptians enjoy the amity and fraternity of one another.

Pope Tawadros II, who received Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and senior government and public figures at the Abbasiya Cathedral, said that feasts such as this bring us all together.

“During the feasts we live in amity and joy and anyone seeing us now would have trouble telling Christians and Muslims apart,” the pope said.

Such feasts bring forth the bright side of Egypt and the love and courtesy between brothers, including the president “who sent us yesterday a dear representative to offer his congratulations,” the pope added. “May God bless Egypt and make all its days feasts.”

Defence Minister Sidqi Sobhi also sent a cable congratulating the pope on Easter Sunday, which said in part, “It is my pleasure to congratulate your holiness on the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection of Christ, wishing that God will bless your holiness and all the Copts in this country with health and prosperity.”

Praising the patriotic Copts who serve in the Egyptian army and their great contribution to the country, the defence minister said “the people of Egypt, whether Muslim or Copt, are one. We share one homeland and we have the same dream, that of restoring Egypt’s glorious past.”

Sobhi noted the sacrifices made by Coptic members of the army and said that the army is the nation’s “strong shield”.

In the US, Ambassador Mohamed Tawfiq offered his good wishes to Coptic expatriates on Easter.

Tawfiq attended an Easter Mass held at the Coptic Church in Maryland State. The Mass was led by Anba Michel, Bishop of the Coptic Church in the central and southern East Coast.

Back at the Anglican Church in Qasr Al-Dobarah, Cairo, Father Sameh Morris, said, “We pray for Egypt and its leaders, and for the peace of our Arab region.”

In southern Egypt, Anba Bakhum, Bishop of Sohag, Monshaah and Maraghah, delivered a sermon at the Mar Girgis Church in Sohag, saying that Christ came at difficult times, when everyone differed with his views, and he still fought corruption and denounced hypocrisy.

“Evil may seem winning, but it will end, and righteousness will triumph,” Bakhum declared.

All over Egypt, governors visited Egyptian churches to offer their wishes to Copts on Easter.

In Minya, Governor Salah Al-Din Ziyadah and Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Al-Damati offered their season’s greetings to Copts. Ziyadah said that Easter is a feast for all Egyptians to enjoy the spirit of fraternity and amity.

Al-Damati also voiced heart-felt wishes to the Copts, adding that Minya deserves to be a leading destination for cultural tourism.

In Beheira, Anba Bakhomius, the Bishop of Beheira, Matrouh and the five western cities, said that Egypt has always been and will always be a cohesive society, one in which Muslims and Christians live together in peace.

Beheira Governor Mohamed Sultan visited Bakhomius to congratulate him on Easter, accompanied by Muslim clerics and top government officials.

“The men of religion, be they Muslim or Christian, should strive to fight extremism and violence,” the governor said.

In Kafr Al-Sheikh, Governor Usama Hamdi Abdel-Wahed went to the Virgin Mary Church in Sakha to offer his wishes to Christians, and there met with Father Butros Bastawros, deputy bishop of Kafr Al-Sheikh and Damietta.

Abdel-Wahed offered his wishes to all Egyptians on Easter, and praised the efforts of the police to enforce law and order. He said that the Sakha Church deserves to be a tourist destination due to the mark of the foot of Christ that is kept there.

Father Bastawros said that the Feast of the Resurrection is a sign of faith in the afterlife, and that anyone who believes in the afterlife has a mission on this earth.

In Mansoura, Daqahliya Governor Hossam Al-Din Imam toured various churches to offer the season’s greetings. He was accompanied on this tour by key Muslim figures and government officials.

Saad Al-Fiqi, deputy minister of Awqaf, said that anyone banning the congratulation of Copts on their feasts is trying in vain to sow sedition in Egypt.

A recent poll by Baseera, a leading public opinion centre in Egypt, shows that 82 per cent of Egyptians believe that congratulating Christians on their feasts is halal, or religiously correct. About five per cent consider the practice to be haram, or religiously incorrect, while 13 per cent are undecided.

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