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Friday, October 21, 2011

Australian Minister For Foreign Affairs Summons Egyptian Ambassador For Talks On Persecution of Copts

Last Tuesday 18 October, 2011 The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs summoned the Egyptian Ambassador H.E. Omar Metwally for talks on the situation in Egypt and the ongoing persecution of Copts.

It was made clear to the Ambassador the Australian governments concerns with regards to the escalation of violence and persecution against Coptic Christians in Egypt and their lack of protection. Clear messages were presented to the Ambassador that there needs to be swift elections in Egypt and a stable government in place in order for stability to return to Egypt. A unified law for places of worship that would not be biased in any shape or form must be implemented. There must be a transparent and independent inquiry into the most recent attack on Copts by the military.

We thank the Australian Government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs for taking this important initiative in speaking directly with the Egyptian Ambassador concerning this grave injustice against Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Bishop of Melbourne and its Affiliated Regions

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew expresses support to Pope Shenouda on recent tragedy in Egypt

It is with heavy heart and wholehearted sympathy that we communicate with Your Beatitude – indeed, not for the first time this year! – for similar tragedies confronting our beloved and pious Coptic Christian brothers and sisters under your spiritual and pastoral protection in Egypt.

Upon hearing this painful news during our recent visit to the Holy Mountain, we hastened to invoke the intercessions of the numerous saints who have led ascetic lives in that monastic republic and to urge the ongoing prayers of the monks who currently reside there.

The remarkable and turbulent changes experienced by your entire historical continent and especially your biblical nation in recent times has proved both encouraging and costly. Nevertheless, the difficult and complicated transition in the life of all citizens of Egypt can never and should never provide any pretext or excuse acts of violence toward any targeted individuals or groups, including and especially religious communities or political factions.

It is, therefore, in the strongest possible expression of solidarity and condolence that we deplore the unacceptable persecution and unjustifiable execution of all humble and law-abiding citizens, particularly belonging to Christian or other faith minorities, whether in Egypt or the entire Middle East.

The struggle for peace and democracy can never come at the expense of religious liberty and human rights.

Finally, Your Beatitude, we would like to assure you and your faithful that we always stand prayerfully beside you as we continue to journey on the difficult paths of our respective Churches. May God give rest to the souls of the departed and strength to the families that survive them.

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 17th day of October 2011

Your Beatitude’s beloved brother in Christ,

Archbishop of Constantinople-
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

Epsajee Special Edition

Epsajee - Special Edition    Sunday 16 Oct, 2011

Coptic Bishop meets Gillard and Abbott

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia has met Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott to express his concerns over violence in Egypt.

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia has met Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, to express his concerns over violence in Egypt.

Bishop Suriel says Australia should join international pressure to force the Egyptian authorities to protect Christians.

The Bishop told Murray Silby he's encouraged by the support the Coptic community is receiving from Australian political leaders so far.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coptic Church leaders sceptical

Egypt moves to quell international anger over its treatment of the Christian community.

Statement of the Holy Synod on the Recent Violence against Copts in Egypt

The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church under the leadership of Pope Shenouda III met with seventy in attendance on Monday October 10, 2011 in the Papal residence in Cairo, Egypt to discuss the events of the prior day in front of Maspiro where at least 24 of our beloved children have been killed and at least 200 have been injured.

We ascertain that our Christian faith doesn’t allow us to use violence of any kind. But we also know that strangers implanted themselves among our children and committed acts that are more suited to their morals. Coptic Christians feel that their problems are always being repeated without accountability and without the due justice of the law.

The Holy Synod invites all Coptic Christians to fast and pray for three days beginning Tuesday October 11, 2011 that God may bring his peace to our beloved country of Egypt.

Patriarch Kirill’s message to Patriarch Shenouda III of the Coptic Church

To: His Holiness SHENOUDA III
Pope of Alexandria and
Patriarch of the Throne of St. Mark in All Africa and the Middle East

Your Holiness,
It has deeply grieved me to learn about the new attacks against Christians in Egypt and the bloody clashes in Cairo which have left several scores of people dead and over three hundred of people injured.
The Russian Orthodox Church knows not from hearsay what discrimination and persecution of believers are. The carcases of defiled churches still remaining in our land remind us to this day of the terrible years of persecution. That is why we feel so strongly for the suffering of our brothers in faith in Egypt. At an hour of trial, we turn to Almighty God with prayer asking Him to reinforce the spiritual resources of Egyptian Christians in their efforts to stand for their faith and to preserve their Christian identity.
We have repeatedly called upon all the major world powers and religious leaders to condemn the persecution of Christians and called the Egyptian authorities to do all that is necessary to ensure real freedom of religion and security for all citizens regardless of their religious or ethnic background.
I pray for the repose of those who died and for a speedy recovery of those who were injured. May the All-Merciful Lard give peace and prosperity to the old Egyptian land, to all its people and to the flock of the Coptic Church.
With love in Christ,
+ Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Article from " THE AGE "

Articles appeared in the Age on Tuesday 11 of October, 2011

Interview with Bishop Suriel on SBS News Radio

Egyptian Ambassador should be sacked, says bishop

Visit SBS Website

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia has called for the immediate expulsion of the Egyptian Ambassador and two Egyptian Consuls-General.
The outcry from Bishop Suriel follows the deaths of at least 24 people, mostly Coptic Christians, in clashes with security forces in Egypt's capital on Sunday.

The Bishop says he believes the officials no longer represent the Coptic community and has sent messages to Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Rudd's offices demanding the expulsion of the ambassador.

He said the sacking would be a symbolic gesture on the Australian Government's behalf and would send "a very strong message to Egypt that Australia... [is] saying this is enough of discrimination and persecution against the 12 million Copts in Egypt".
Bishop Suriel told SBS he had been inundated with phone calls from Australian Copts distressed by the violence in central Cairo.
"Hundreds of people have been calling me and the clergy have been calling me," Bishop Suriel said.

"They're very distraught and they feel very vulnerable that they can't do anything to assist their brothers and sisters in Egypt and they're crying out to me to do something and to make the voice of the voiceless in Egypt, the Copts, heard in the international community."

Bishop Suriel said the Egyptian Ambassador should have at least contacted the community to show his sympathies and publicly condemn the attacks.

The clashes in Cairo broke out on Sunday after Coptic Christians took to the streets in protest against the burning of a church in Egypt's south.

He is also calling for the head of the Egyptian Army to resign.
A total of 174 people were injured during the protest with at least 24 killed.
Sectarian clashes are frequent in the Arab nation where the largest Coptic minority has often been the target of attack and repeatedly accuses the authorities of systematic discrimination.
Fifteen people died in clashes on May 7 after Muslim protesters attacked two churches because they believed the Christians were detaining a Muslim convert.
Copts make up roughly 10 percent of the country's 80 million people and they complain of state-sanctioned discrimination, including a law that requires presidential permission for church construction.

Archbishop Freier offers prayers, proposals to ease suffering in Egypt

Melbourne’s Anglican Archbishop, Dr Philip Freier, today called for international efforts to assist Egypt’s transition to a stable democracy.

Archbishop Freier expressed prayerful support for the Egyptian people and for Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt and Australia.

The Archbishop and his assistant bishops offered prayers today for those who have suffered and died in Egypt recently.

“Our hearts go out to their family and friends. We empathise, too, with Bishop Suriel and the local Coptic Orthodox Church in their anguish,” Archbishop Freier said.

“We urge consideration be given to a UN Peacekeeping Force to assist Egypt’s transition to a stable democracy.

“We invite our Australian Foreign Minister to offer any diplomatic and emergency assistance to support the people of Egypt, especially as they confront risks to their hard-won pursuit of freedom, including religious freedom for minority groups like the Coptic Orthodox,” Archbishop Freier said.

Media contacts:

Bishop Philip Huggins, Bishop of the Northern and Western Region of the Melbourne Diocese and Chair of the Diocesan Social Responsibilities Committee


The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today encouraged Egyptian nationals in Australia affected by recent events in their home country to contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Mr Bowen said visa assistance was available if required to those affected by the unrest in Egypt and their cases would be treated sympathetically.

“In light of the unfolding situation in Egypt, I want to assure Egyptians in Australia that my department will take the circumstances in their home country into account when dealing with requests for visa extensions,” Mr Bowen said.

“I encourage all Egyptian nationals in Australia who are unable to fly home or are on temporary visas to contact DIAC on 131 881 as soon as possible.”

DIAC will consider on a case-by-case basis the options for Egyptians in Australia whose visas to remain here are about to expire.