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Nov 04 2012

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EGYPT: Takes New Stance for God, Christians in The Egypitian Coptic Orthodox Church Name New Pope – May God Bless Bishop Tawadros in His New Mission!!

EDITORIAL: Anything that is against people serving their God and doing good in the World is blasphemes and the work of Satan. We see it happening all over the World, extremist groups trying to remove God from every aspect of our lives. America was built on being able to practice your religion and the goodness of God to be a guide to our Freedoms. Many other counties are fighting for that right today. We must all band together to fight Satan, not each other. Without the goodness of God in our World, we would truly be living in Hell on Earth!!

Last updated: November 4, 2012 3:24 pm – By Heba Saleh in Cairo

The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest in the Middle East, has chosen a new pope in a ballot held at an elaborate ceremony attended by thousands of Christians in Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral.

Bishop Tawadros, 60, whose name was pulled out of a crystal chalice by a young, blindfolded boy, was one of three shortlisted candidates vying to lead the ancient church at one of the most challenging periods of its long history. He will head a flock estimated at 8-10m people, or around 10 per cent of all Egyptians.

A pharmacist who did part of his training in Britain, Bishop Tawadros ran a state-owned medicine factory before he joined a monastery in 1986. As bishop, he headed the diocese of Beheira in the Egyptian Delta.

The new pope, who will be formally enthroned on November 18, has a reputation for being open, organised, and in favour of the integration of the Christian minority into the country’s public life to break with decades of isolation, seen as a reaction to mounting religious discrimination and periodic sectarian violence.

He will become the 118th Coptic Orthodox pope, replacing Shenouda III, a charismatic figure who led the church for over 40 years and whose death in March left Egyptian Christians feeling bereft and fearful of an uncertain future as Islamists rise to political power.

In his first remarks, the new pope said he wanted the church to focus on its spiritual role. But in a country with entrenched discrimination and a weak legal system, he is likely to find it difficult to avoid playing a political role, as did his predecessor.

Under the dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak, the ousted president, Pope Shenouda emerged as his community’s main interlocutor with the state – an uncomfortable situation which critics say deepened the isolation of Christians and sparked accusations from Islamists of the church meddling in politics.

Egyptian Christians have long complained of discrimination and of the difficulties they face in obtaining permits to build new churches. Over the past three decades sectarian tensions bubbling below the surface have periodically boiled over into violence against Christians in poor villages and the slums of Cairo.

In the past two years, since the ousting of Mr Mubarak, there has been a marked increase in violence targeting the community and its places of worship. Last year 26 Christian demonstrators were killed by army bullets or crushed to death by military vehicles when they marched on the state television headquarters to protest against the destruction of a church by Muslims in the south of the country.

The rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, the political group of Mohamed Morsi, the elected president, and of even more hardline Salafi parties which adhere to a literal interpretation of Islam, has exacerbated the fears of the Christian community.

A draft constitution prepared by an Islamist-dominated panel and released for discussion last month has attracted criticism from Christians and more secular-minded Egyptians, who charge that it is tailored to impose the world view of religious hardliners.

“We see that the constituent assembly is leading us into a dark tunnel and that the draft constitution will create something which is very much like a theocratic state in which there will be nothing for Christians,” said Bishoi Tamry, a Christian activist. “Those Christians who did not think of emigration are now contemplating it.”

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