Egyptian Archbishop Reflects on The Ecclesiastical Conflict Between Anglicans and the Protestant Church in Egypt

Jul 29, 2020 by

by David Virtue, Virtueonline:

An exclusive interview with Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis.

VOL: Thank you, Archbishop for giving of your valuable time to speak with VIRTUEONLINE about the situation in Egypt. First of all, congratulations on the formation of a new African & Middle Eastern Province. I am sure that it is a thrilling historical moment in the life of Christianity in the Middle East, particularly for the Anglican Communion and for yourself personally.

ANIS: Thank you so much. Indeed, it is a historical moment and a great encouragement to us here. We are hoping and praying that the new Anglican Province of Alexandria may be faithful to the Triune God, as the early Alexandrian church which was founded on the blood of the saints. We also pray so that we faithfully continue Christ’s mission in our region, in Africa and in the Anglican Communion.

VOL: The Middle East is, and always has been, a turbulent place both politically and spiritually with the possibility of war breaking out at any time. It is equally a turbulent spiritual place where Christianity, Judaism and Islam vie for center stage. Based on the most recent figures, Christians now make up approximately 5% of the total Middle Eastern population, down from 20% in the early 20th century. Millions of Christians in the region have been uprooted from their homes, and many have been killed, kidnapped, imprisoned and discriminated against. Do you think the situation will get worse or do you seeing it getting better over time?

ANIS: I would say it is getting better. The majority of Middle Eastern people, Christians and Muslims, can’t tolerate exclusion and discrimination. The best example is the revolution of the Egyptians on the 30th of June 2013, when the people rejected the Muslim Brotherhood ruling which discriminated against the moderate Muslims and Christians. The same is happening now in Tunisia, Libya and Sudan. I would say that we are moving towards inclusive citizenship, but it is not an easy road. I am sad that Christians emigrate. I wish they would stay and make a difference.

VOL: In 2014, the Egyptian government drafted a new constitution which guaranteed churches freedom to practice religious rituals for Christians. How has that worked out for you?

ANIS: The 2014 constitution is a great achievement and guarantees inclusive citizenship. However, each article needs to be activated and translated into laws and policies, and this takes time. Article 3 of this constitution is really wonderful because it gives full freedom to Egyptian Christians and Jews, as it says:The principles of Christian and Jewish Sharia of Egyptian Christians and Jews are the main source of legislations that regulate their respective personal status, religious affairs, and selection of spiritual leaders”. We currently appeal for this to be applied on us as an Anglican community in Egypt because we are perceived as part of the Protestant Churches in Egypt (PCE).

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