File photo of an Egyptian Orthodox Church. (Photo:Reuters)
CAIRO – 5 June 2018: The Secretary-General of the Council of Churches of Egypt, Father Paul Jarass, met with Andrea Zaki, chairman of Evangelical community in Egypt, on Saturday to discuss joint cooperation between the council and the Evangelical community, which enjoys membership of the council among five other Christian churches.
This came over the sharp differences that broke out between the Orthodox and Evangelical churches in Egypt in the recent period.
Head of the Evangelical Church Rev. Dr Andrea Zaki - Via YouTube
According to a press release issued by the Catholic Church, Jarras said that there is some intolerance among members of the Church Council as attempts to destroy its unity come from the inside and outside, stressing that the Church is going to focus only on constructive ideas.
He pointed out to the need to organize work between the Christian churches through activities such as spiritual and intellectual meetings as well as meetings for women and youth.
The differences occurred after an Orthodox priest refused to pray in the funeral mass of a newly married couple in Minya governorate. He said that he cannot hold a mass for non-Orthodox Christians as it is “forbidden”, adding that Orthodox Christians cannot pray for those who don’t hold Orthodox faith.
Orthodox priest refused to pray in the funeral mass of a newly married couple in Minya governorate. - Creative commons
Also, Pastors of the Orthodox and Evangelical Church Association (ECA) communities in Minya exchanged accusations last year after disputing over an old building leading to its destruction.
Clashes between Christian communities in Minya - Creative Commons
These incidents revealed deep ideological differences between the Orthodox and Evangelical Churches in Egypt, but the Orthodox Church defended itself in a press statement, saying that the Church respects all other sects. We (the Church) are committed only to our faith, defend and explain it, and we forgive all those who harass or hurt us.