New Coptic pope, christians face persecution in Egypt
Tawadros II faces unique challenges as Egypt transforms itself.
The Coptic Orthodox Church crowned a new pope Sunday, Tawadros II amid fears of persecution and discrimination. Mohammed Morsi was absent, although the Egyptian Prime Minister and other dignitaries attended the event.
Tawadros II (left) following his coronation as Pope.
Despite their size, Coptic Orthodox Christians, along with all other Christians, worry about persecution in a country now dominated by Islamists. Notably, Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, did not attend the ceremony himself, sending the Prime Minister instead. This drew criticism from attendees who felt he should have attended if he wanted to show inclusiveness.
Morsi has previously claimed he would rule inclusively, fairly representing all Egyptians.
However, this claim is becoming dubious, particularly as Egypt's new constitutions is drawn up. Christians and other minorities as well as moderate Muslims say their voices are being ignored as the conservative Muslim Brotherhood dominates the process and writes rules which make it more difficult to construct a church than a mosque.
Tawadros II told reporters that he would oppose any Constitution that only met Muslim concerns.
Meanwhile, Coptic Christians are happy to have a new pope. Applause repeatedly roared through the Cairo cathedral during the ceremony as Tawadros II, formerly trained as a pharmacist, was given red and gold vestments to wear as well as the papal scepter and crown.
The new pope did not speak during the event, but instead had a prepared statement read for him to the assembly.
Tawadros II is the Coptic Church's 118th pope.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Tawadros II, pope, Coptic, Christian, Egypt
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