WCC Faith & Order standing commission meets in Cairo

Hosted by the Coptic Orthodox Church the WCC Faith & Order Standing Commission met at St Mark¹s Conference Centre in Cairo (16 -22 June). Commissioners heard the reports on bilateral dialogues, uniting and united, BEM, one baptism, ecclesiology, common witness and other related activities reports. They discussed these reports in working groups, and focused on project on moral discernment. The WCC General Secretary greeted the meeting with words of encouragements. The WCC General Secretary, the MECC General Secretary and the Commissioners were received by Patriarch Theodoros II of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa. Patriarch Theodoros II bestowed on Kobia the Cross of the Patriarchate and congratulated him upon his contribution to the WCC.

During the successful encounters with Heads and Leaders of WCC member churches as well as other religious and secular figures in Cairo and Alexandria, Dr. Kobia and the delegation learned about the situation of the churches in Egypt and discuss WCC activities in the Middle East. Dr Kobia and his delegation met with Church leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Evangelical Synod of Nile (Rev. Dr. Safwat Al-Bayyadi), the Greek Orthodox Church (His Beatitude patriarch Theodoros II), and the Anglican Church (Bishop Mounir Hanna). The WCC delegation was welcomed by H.E Anba Bishoy of Domiate from the Coptic Orthodox Church on behalf of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III who for reasons of travelling outside Egypt was not able to receive the delegation. Dr Kobia met with WCC members of the Central Committee in Egypt and exchanged with them the activities of the Council. The delegation visited old churches and monasteries in the desert of Egypt. The necessity of peace in the Middle East was highlighted during the visits and meetings with church and Muslim leaders, as well as politicians. Impetus for the talks comes from the Amman Call: a document about how churches must commit to working for peace in the Middle East was signed by over 130 representatives of churches and Christian organizations from six continents in June 2007. A meeting with General Secretary of the League of Arab Nations Dr. Amro Mousa was an opportunity to exchange with him perspectives on justice and peace in the Middle East.

The visit also promoted interreligious dialogue through the meetings with high rank Muslim leaders: the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mosque, the Grand Imam of Azhar, and the Minister of Awqaf (Religious Affairs). The delegation visited Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.