Coptic Church launches initiative against marriage of relatives



Fri, 19 Apr 2024 - 06:14 GMT


Fri, 19 Apr 2024 - 06:14 GMT

CAIRO - 18 April 2024: The Coptic Orthodox Church launched Thursday a project to raise awareness about the dangers of consanguineous marriages, entitling the initiative “let the joy be complete.”


Pope Tawadros II and the representatives of the initiative’s partners, which are the Ministries of Health and Population, Youth and Sports, Social Solidarity, the United Nations Population Fund, the NGOs “Egypt Without Sickness” and “Fahim” psychological support.


Church pontiffs, priests, a number of officials, ambassadors, businessmen and public figures also attended the event. 


The initiative aims to reduce the chances of future generations being exposed to genetic diseases, by avoiding marriage within the extended family to protect individuals, families, and the society from health, moral and financial problems in the future. The slogan of the initiative is “Egyptian family health = community health.”


Barbara Suleiman, Director of the Pontifical Office for Projects and Relations, said that since the office’s establishment in 2013, it has focused on education, health, and women’s empowerment.


Two documentaries were played, explaining the main features of the dangers of consanguineous marriage. Two lectures were given on genetic and  psychological diseases resulting from consanguineous marriages.


Dr. Nevin Al-Wahsh, the office advisor, presented the vision and plan of the initiative.


In his word, the Pope said the  church has a spiritual and a social role, which it has endeavored to fulfill since its inception in the first century AD.


He also praised the efforts made by the Egyptian government for the safety of society and its individuals through many presidential actions and initiatives, especially applauding the Decent Life Initiative.


Pope Tawadros highlighted that studies have shown that there are  10,000 diseases caused by marriages of relatives.


The Church volunteered to sponsor cochlear implantation for me 23 cases and discovered that all of these cases were children of close relatives, he warned.


He urged cooperation to confront this problem and raise awareness about it.


First-cousin marriages, especially from the father's side, are widespread in Egypt amongst Christians and Muslims. It is considered a part of traditions especially in rural areas. The tradition is also partly related to keeping inheritance, especially land inheritance, within the family. 




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