Bishop Yuanes of Asyut during the interview in August 2018 – Ahmed Dream Bishop Yuanes of Asyut during the interview in August 2018 – Ahmed Dream

Interview: Dronka Monastery receives Copts, Muslims in celebration of Virgin Mary

Thu, Aug. 16, 2018
CAIRO – 16 August 2018: Egyptians continue to flock into the ancient Dronka Monastery of Assiut in celebration of the Fast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary which began Aug. 7. Bishop Yuanes of Assiut exerts much effort during that busy time.

The event commemorates the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt to escape King Herod’s persecution. Below is an interview with Bishop Yuanes on that occasion.

1 - What do you think of the recent murder of Bishop Epiphanuis in St. Macarius Monastery?

The events unfolding at St. Maracrius Monastery are a passing phase. We must be patient and pray for this crisis to pass, but people are in a hurry to know the truth.

2 - Is there a conflict between the schools of late Coptic icons Pope Shenouda and head of St. Macarius Monastery Matthew the Poor?

This is a question to be asked to Pope Tawadros. I am the archbishop of Assiut, and I trust Pope Tawadros and the Monastic Committee. All I want to say is “prayer and patience.”

3 - You were close to late Pope Shenouda. How was your relationship with him?

I did not leave the company of late Pope Shenouda for 21.5 years. I learned a lot from his character and experience. When we have an issue in Assiut, I always remember him and how he dealt with such matters.

4 – Have you faced challenges since you were appointed bishop of Assiut?
I have not faced problems by Copts or officials since I became the archbishop in 2015. I have noticed cooperation and love amongst everybody, and people in Assiut are pious and God-fearing.

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Bishop Yuanes of Asyut during the interview in August 2018 – Ahmed Dream

5 – What do you think of late Bishop Michael of Assiut?

The people in Assiut are fond of late Michael, because he was able to reach their hearts with his piety. Furthermore, he revived Dronka Monastery, and thanks to him, the celebration of the virgin fasting on Aug. 7 is one of the largest in Egypt.

6 – What is your say about the controversy of women’s clothes at weddings?

There is a verse in the Bible that says: “In a like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness with good works.”

When I talked about women’s attire in weddings inside the church, it was because it is God’s house. None of the people in Assiut objected, but some outside Egypt became upset and attacked me, claiming the church has imposed a costume on women. That is not true.

7 - How are the celebrations of the Fast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Dronka Monastery?

This celebration is attended by Christians and Muslims. The monastery provided buses to transport visitors from the gates to the top of the Western Mountain. It is one of the most important celebrations of the Virgin in Egypt, and about 3 million people visit Dronka over two weeks, according to executive authorities in Assiut.

8 – How do the Egyptian people feel about Virgin Mary?

The relationship between the Egyptian people and the Virgin is one of love and intercession. Dronka Monastery is a destination for thousands of Egyptian and foreign visitors, because it is the last station in the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, and from which they began their journey back to Palestine.

9 – Is the number of visitors to Dronka Monastery on the rise?

The number of visitors to Dronka Monastery is increasing. I would like to thank security and executive authorities that secure and organize the celebrations. The state’s efforts in its war on terror, especially in Sinai, are felt here in Assiut in terms of safety.

Interview by Mahmoud Agamy
 
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