“Egypt isn't a country we live in, but a country that lives within us” is a renowned saying from the late Pope Shenouda III. Following his death and questions about succession to his role, says Dr Harry Hagopian, the question now is whether Egypt will continue living within the Copts, and more pertinently how. This involves complex political, cultural, social and religious issues.
The region Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region - Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Morocco, Yemen and many others - is a tinderbox ready to be set ablaze, says Dr Harry Hagopian. So can the collective wisdom of the international community overcome its short-term stratagems and leap forward with political determination? Or will the haunting predictions of a well-placed Syrian activist from Homs who wryly suggested that we are in for a decade of sporadic and prolonged civil wars indeed come true? The stakes are high in Syria and beyond.
'Church leaders' are easily (if not inevitably) mired in politics, expectation and institutional intrigued. Those that shine through do so because of the pre-eminent qualities of love, commitment and example. This is one of the personal lesson Dr Harry Hagopian draws from the life of Pope Shenouda III, the highly respected Coptic Orthodox leader, who died recently.
No matter how expected the death of HH Shenouda III was for me due to his long illness, I still couldn't but feel that the world has lost a man of faith who always held Christ in his heart and the Cross in his hand.
To mark the start of Lent 2012, there is a departure from the usual style of my podcast regional analysis of the Middle East and North Africa for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).
In viewing the first anniversary of the 25 January 2011 Revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and set forth many changes that would have simply been unthinkable twelve months ago in Egypt, we should bear in mind that the deep socio-economic and technological structures of civilisations play out over long periods of time, says Dr Harry Hagopian. Here he offers a perspective on the development and prospects of those recent events in Egypt, and responses to them.