Nader ShukryPope Tawadros II has said that the Coptic Church is an Egyptian Church that is praying hard for peace to reign in Egypt.
He called upon the wise men of Egypt to intervene with the conflicting parties to promote self-restraint and stop the bloodshed. "We must work together so that matters do not get out of control," the Pope said. "Let every Egyptian today seek wisdom with diligence; wisdom is what we need to overcome the current turmoil. The Bible says: 'Tell wisdom you are my sister, and understanding my relation'."
In reply to accusations by the Islamist satellite TV channel Misr 25 (Egypt 25) that the Church was mobilising its congregation against President Mursi, The Pope's secretary Fr Angaelos told Watani that the Church was a spiritual institution that had nothing to do with politics. He reminded that Pope Tawadros had called for dialogue, and asked all Egyptians to put Egypt's interests above anything else, to exercise wisdom and renounce violence, so that peace would reign.
Father Rafiq Greiche of the Catholic Church, whose church in Heliopolis lies in the thick of the events, has been an eyewitness to all what has been going on near the presidential palace the last few days. Fr Rafiq said the violence had been a horror to see; "The civil forces protested peacefully," he said. "It was when the Islamists came in buses and marches and assaulted the demonstrators with clubs and white weapons that matters turned violent. President Mursi is responsible for promoting this division between countrymen; he should have acted as a president for all Egyptians not only of one sector."
The Reverend Andrea Zaky of the Evangelical Church said that his church had set up a field hospital to care for the injured. "Egypt in its entirety should join hands to stop the bloodshed," he said. "Otherwise, we may be on the verge of civil war."
For his part, the Rev Rifaat Fikry of the Evangelical church in Shubra, Cairo, condemned the attempt at sectarianism by Egypt 25. The only role the Church plays, he said, was to pray for Egypt. "Any attempt to play on sectarian sentiments is contemptible," he said, " and only serves to divide Egypt."
7 December 2012