The Orthodox Church representative on the so-called Committee of 50 charged with drafting Egypt’s new constitution has threatened to withdraw for the second time in protest at the drafting process. His Grace Bishop Paula said that he was surprised that the words “civil country” were dropped without consultation. “This was unacceptable,” he added, “as was the explanation of the phrase, ‘principles of Sharia’ in Article 219 without getting back to us.” That, said the bishop, was enough to justify the withdrawal of the church’s three representatives.
Bishop Paula had earlier submitted a memorandum demanding the cancellation of any explanation of the Islamic law in the draft Constitution since, he alleged, it classifies Christians as “second class citizens”.
Sources within the Egyptian Coptic Church, meanwhile, have said that Pope Tawadros II has refused demands by independent Christian activists for a 15 per cent representation for their faith in parliament and public offices. A Church Legal Committee member, Counsellor Monsif Najib Suleiman, said during a press conference at the Bar Association that having positive discrimination with a quota for minorities fuels sectarianism, which he described as the easiest way to divide a country.
UPDATE: Music removed at the request of St. Joseph’s Seminary & St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
Choirs from two local theological schools representing Eastern and Western Christendom jointly presented an a cappella concert titled “Magnificat: Hymns to the Mother of God from the East and West” on Monday evening, November 25, 2013, 7:30 pm, at St. Jean Baptiste Church, 184 East 76th Street, New York City. The Male Choir from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, of the Orthodox Church in America, joined with a Schola from St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, in praise of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, who holds a place of honor in both traditions.
Music selections from the Orthodox tradition for the concert illustrated the Eastern Church’s feasts dedicated to the Theotokos (Greek for “Mother of God”), while music from the Roman Catholic tradition included time-honored hymns of laudation to the Virgin Mary, taken from ancient chant and from the classical period up until modern times, such as O Sanctissima by Beethoven (1770–1827) and Ave Maria by Biebl (1906–2001).