Egypt’s Anglicans Hopeful Despite Tough Times

The small Christian community has faced harassment but priests believe interfaith dialogues are bearing fruit.

AlJazeera reports:

Last summer, as unrest raged in Cairo, Egypt’s small Anglican community started looking for a way out. One family made for Canada, another went to Australia, and several emigrated to the United States.

As exoduses go, Anglican emigration has been small compared to the torrent of fleeing Coptic Orthodox migrants, but with approximately 3000-4000 congregants, the Anglican Church’s problems over the past few years have mirrored those of the wider Christian population.

When modern Egypt’s worst bout of sectarian violence erupted in August, few Anglicans were left untouched by the fallout. Two of the Anglican community’s 15 churches were attacked, while only the timely arrival of the army spared a third, and those inside it, from an irate mob intent on setting it alight.

The Coptic Orthodox community accounts for at least 95 percent of Egyptian Christians, and “when there are difficulties, they’re usually the ones to suffer,” said the Reverend Drew Schmotzer, an Anglican chaplain in Cairo. “But we’re a minority within a minority, and we’re not strong on numbers.”

Rest here. And, from the conclusion:

… The break from Anglicanism’s English roots doesn’t end there. Egyptian Anglicans practice an unusual blend of Eastern and Western Christian traditions. They celebrate Christmas when Westerners do, but mark Easter a little later in the year with the Coptic Orthodox.

More tellingly still, for an Anglican church whose British and American branches are torn between competing conservative and moderate factions, its Egyptian wing remains united in its opposition to same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay priests. “We don’t have any liberals here,” the Reverend Bakheet said with a grin. “We refuse to ordain homosexuals because the Bible says so.”

 

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