This year Prince Charles visited the Armenian Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, Coptic Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox Churches during the course of 2014. In the case of the Syriac Church, he visited them twice in one short year. Ekklesia associate and Middle East analyst Dr Harry Hagopian assesses the significance of these acts of concern and solidarity.
Today, 4 November 2012, the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Abbasiya, Cairo, witnessed what has been described in the media as an ‘altar lottery’ when a blindfolded young boy dipped his small hand into a glass bowl that contained the names of three vetted candidates and chose Anba (Bishop) Tawadros as the new Coptic Pope to succeed the late Shenouda III.
“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.
'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.