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Intervention of Mons. François EID, Bishop of Cairo of the Maronites (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)


Confessionalism in the Islamic societies where many Christians live and bear witness in the Middle East deeply affects their spirit and their behavior. From this stems confinement, withdrawal from others and hostility.
These Christians are not “indigenous citizens”. To the contrary, they belong fundamentally and organically to the social fabric and national identity of their respective countries. This is why they are called upon to live their faith and to bear witness to it with authenticity, joy and without restraint.
Inspired by the Word of God who invites all Christians to make theirs the concern of the Lord for the poor and the needy, the members of the Catholic Church in Egypt are deeply engaged in educational services (169 colleges) as well as in health and social services. Their action is a concrete manifestation of God’s solicitude and Christ’s love towards all the little brothers of the Lord.
We have a very revealing example of the contribution of a small group of Lebanese Christians, emigrated to Egypt during the second half of the 19th century. This small dynamic and motivated group managed, in less than 100 years, to found 249 newspapers and periodicals in Arabic, French or English. They are the ones that founded almost all the most prestigious publishing companies still existing in Egypt.
And what can be said about the many enlightened, pioneering writers, that gave Egypt playwrights, directors, actors, musicians, and singers! I would also like to mention all the builders of churches, schools and hospitals, the founders of charitable organizations and socio-cultural, sports and religious organizations, without forgetting the brilliant businessmen who started the Egyptian Stock Exchange and founded the Opera House!
Unfortunately, the climate of openness and tolerance which was favorable to the blossoming of their talents and to the launching of great projects was abolished by the 1952 revolution, this is what brought a fatal strike to their socio-cultural contribution.
Today’s Synod should not delude itself that it can find a magical solution to the problems of the Middle Eastern Churches. However, it offers us the occasion to proceed with a personal and community examination of our consciences that would allow us to foresee a path of action.

[00057-02.03] [IN035] [Original text: French]



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