Head of Church in Cyprus on a mission to save Cypriot churches

Daily News Egypt
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CAIRO: Head of the church in Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos B, ended a four-day visit to Egypt on Friday when he returned to Cyprus.

During the Duration of his stay, Chrysostomos stayed at the St. Mark Center next to St. Marie Church in Nasr City.

The purpose of his trip was to visit some of the Coptic and Greek orthodox churches and famous monasteries such as St. Anthony’s and St. Paul’s.

He met with religious leaders such as Pope Shenouda III and Patriarch Theodoros from the Greek Orthodox Church in Egypt.

On Thursday he met President Hosni Mubarak to make his acquaintance as well as to discuss the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus.

The Turkish military occupation of areas in Northern Cyprus has been a pressing issue, especially for the church, as there are 520 churches and monasteries in occupied territory that are not being properly maintained.

Other issues recently in the spotlight include the controversial claims Pope Benedict XVI has made over the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church over other creeds such as Protestantism.

Chrysostomos believes in these claims explaining that, “It is only by grace that protestant churches are Christian churches because they have steered away from what we [Roman Catholics and similar creeds] believe is the real fate. They only accept three of the seven mysteries.

These seven mysteries are baptism, communion, chrismation, confession, marriage, ordination and unction. Protestants only believe the first three, Chrysostomos explained.

Coptic Christianity in Egypt is closer to Roman Orthodox than Protestantism.

Regarding the position of the Coptic Church in Egypt, Chrysostomos said “with 12 million Christians it is not so much a minority. They are well looked after by the clergy and operate independently.

Despite the increase in popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, Chrysostomos believes “the more fundamentalist Muslims are the minority, the vast majority of Muslims are very friendly and open to those of other religions.

As for unity across boarders, a recent gathering organized by Jose Barroso, president of the European Commission in April in Brussels brought together religious leaders of Europe representing Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Chrysostomos explained the position taken at the conference is that “love has to prevail everywhere in Europe for all people to become more tolerant.

The incident regarding cartoon depictions of the Islam’s Prophet Mohamed and the uproar they caused was “a simple case and this has not happened again, according to Chrysostomos.

“With the acceptance of different faiths peace can prevail, he said.

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