The Archbishop of Canterbury urged Christians and Muslims to work together for the cause of peace, acknowledging that sometimes in the past Christians had failed to live up to the ideals of their faith in their encounters with the ‘Islam.
Archbishop Welby’s call came in a sermon at All Saints’ Day Cathedral, Cairo, during a service of thanksgiving for the new Anglican / Episcopal Province of Alexandria.
âChristians must be part of a Church that is told to overcome with love and peace,â he said. âNever, never with a sword, a bomb or a plot. Either Christians demonstrate the truth of God, or they demonstrate nothing by the quality of their life.
âAnd I say to our dear friends in the Islamic community: how many times have Christians made mistakes. Our story is that of the tragic sin of strength. Let us be together people of peace.
The new province of Alexandria, said Archbishop Welby, âcovers a vast land, from the waves of the Atlantic to the beaches of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. He has a history of learning, looks south to Africa and east to the Holy Lands, north to Europe. A thousand years ago, this region preserved medicine and learning. Today, Egypt has regained its historic place as a place of meeting, of refuge.
The Archbishop of Alexandria, Dr Samy Fawzy, was installed earlier this year; the service for the launch of the Province has been postponed due to the pandemic. The Province of Alexandria, ruled by Egypt, includes nine other countries: Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.
Bishop Welby said the diversity in the new Province mirrors that of the Anglican Church as a whole, and continued, âWe must be a Church full of difference. In this Province, you are united from the villages of Gambella to the apartments and cities of Cairo and Egypt, to the luxury hotels of the Mediterranean coast. We must be one, with our differences.
On his arrival in Egypt, Archbishop Welby visited the ancient monastery of Saint Macarius, in Wadi Natroun, 100 kilometers northwest of Cairo. He wrote on Twitter that it was inspiring to begin his visit to a monastery “founded in AD 360.” Very moving to pray in this ancient place. . . Excellent spiritual conversation with the monks here.
The Archbishop then visited the Harpur Memorial Hospital, in Menouf, which was founded in 1910 by an Irish missionary, Dr Frank Harpur. The Archbishop has opened a new wing for the nursery for premature babies. In a speech, he referred to the fact that before the hospital was founded, Dr Harpur had treated poor Egyptians from a boat on the Nile – “a beautiful symbol that reminds us of stories from the Bible such as Noah’s Ark and the story of Moses.
âThe Diocese of Egypt runs this excellent hospital,â he wrote on Twitter, âand it’s an example of the role Anglicans play in healthcare in many countries. The love of Christ in action.
During his four-day visit to Egypt, Archbishop Welby met with various religious leaders, including the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria. He wrote on Twitter that he was “very happy to have this time of conversation and prayer with him today. We give thanks for our beloved brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church and their faithful testimony of Jesus. -Christ.
Accompanied by Dr Fawzy, Bishop Welby spoke with the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawky Allam, and Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, the main seat of Sunni Islamic scholarship. âIn this time of great crises in our world,â the Archbishop wrote after the meeting, âit is especially important that we continue to build bridges of friendship between different faiths. Grateful for the deep commitment of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar to this vision.
During a press conference at All Saints’ Day Cathedral, Archbishop Welby was asked about the development of the crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile (News, August 6). Egyptians fear the dam threatens the flow of water from the Nile to Egypt, on which the country is heavily dependent. Talks involving Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have failed to resolve disputes on this issue.
Archbishop Welby said water resources were not the exclusive property of individual countries, and called on “the Ethiopian government to show that it will use the dam responsibly, taking care of its downstream neighbors. . Please show that this roadblock is not a cause for concern.