20100511

Coptic Orthodox Church quits Middle East Churches Council

Cairo, May 10, 2010: The Coptic Orthodox Church has relinquished membership in the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) after being accused of “treason” by Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem H B Theophilos at the last council meeting held in Jordan on 19 April. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of Coptic Orthodox Church has reportedly rejected offers by other member churches to mediate a resolution of the dispute. At the April meeting, H B Theophilos denied Coptic representative H E Bishoi, secretary of the Coptic Holy Synod, a chance to defend his church. The dispute initially arose after the majority of council members called for the dismissal of MECC Secretary-General Girgis Saleh–who had been nominated by the Coptic Church–for the many problems that plagued the council during his term in office. Sources close to the Coptic Church say that His Holiness Shenouda is demanding an official apology from H E Theophilos before he restores the church‟s membership in the council.

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