Skip Content
Bishop Kyrillos William displays Child's Bibles and catechisms for Egypt produced by Aid to the Church in Need

Bishop Kyrillos William displays Child's Bibles and catechisms for Egypt produced by Aid to the Church in Need

EGYPT: A better future awaits Christians, says Church head

By Javier FariƱas and John Newton

12 July 2012

Christians in Egypt can expect a better future after years of being second-class citizens, according to the acting head of the country’s Coptic Catholic Church.

Speaking yesterday (11 July) at an Aid to the Church in Need press conference in Madrid, Spain, Bishop Kyrillos William, administrator of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria, expressed his hopes for Egypt’s Christians following the election of former Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohammed Mursi.

“The future will not be worse than what we have had before,” said the bishop.

Bishop William, who is standing in for Cardinal Patriarch Antonios Naguib, incapacitated by a stroke last year, expressed his confidence that President Mursi will keep promises he made after the elections to govern for everyone regardless of religion.

“In Egypt we all are Egyptian – whether Christian or Muslim – and the President has promised that there will be a Copt and a woman appointed as vice-presidents.

“Although we still do not know who will be appointed, we trust he will keep his word.”

Bishop William said the post-election situation of the Christians in Egypt is not one of persecution – adding “it is better here than in many other countries” – but confirmed that Church members had frequently experienced prejudice, particularly before the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

He said: “Christians were discriminated against in various ways, not having the right to hold senior government positions and being treated like second-class citizens”.

The prelate said he was optimistic, adding the future looks more certain that it did prior to the elections.

Bishop William said the work of the Catholic Church was widely appreciated in the country – in particular its contribution to education.

He added: “In Egypt we have 170 Catholic schools, and many of the leaders of the country send their children there, although they are not Catholics.

“This means that when their children are older and running the country, they will be more open in their relations with us Christians and more respectful.”

In Egypt, Christians are a minority, making up nine percent of the population. There are no more than 250,000 Catholics out of a total population of 83 million.

Bishop William thanked Aid to the Church in Need for its ongoing support for Egypt’s Christians.

The charity has backed various projects particularly those helping with training and education.

In Tema, a small town about 250 miles south of Cairo, Aid to the Church in Need supported the building of a new pastoral centre.

The bishop said: “On numerous occasions, I have felt the closeness and the help of this charity that gives so much good to us. Thank you very much.”

Tagged with:

Coptic Catholic Church - Egypt - Elections - Middle East - Muslim Brotherhood

< Back to News stories

<< Previous articleNext article >>

Sign up to our newsletter

Email:


Aid to the Church in Need Blogger

Border report from Lebanon

Lebanon

The Damascus to Beirut road is remarkably busy - despite three bombings in five days in or near Beirut.  The Lebanese security forces have caught bombers and potential bombers, foiling major attacks. The check points have been increased and strengthened. Yet, this is almost nothing compared to the stories of those coming out of Syria. Read more

Lebanese Christians caring for traumatised and despairing refugees

Lebanon

I stood in the crowded corridor of the St Antoine, Dispensary, Roueisset, near Beirut. Small children cuddled up sitting on their mother's knees, waiting for vital inoculations. The families waiting at this busy centre are mostly Syrian but I spoke to a young Iraqi mother, with her three children. Sr Hanan, who runs the Dispensary, told me that  more Iraqis have   arrived in the last few weeks - after the frightening outbreak of conflict in Iraq. Read more

Tagged with:

Coptic Catholic Church - Egypt - Elections - Middle East - Muslim Brotherhood

Related country profiles