File Photo: Archbishop Youssef Absi, the newly appointed Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church (Photo: courtesy of The Middle East Council of Churches website)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has appointed Youssef Absi as the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in the country, the state-run Egyptian Gazette announced on Monday.
In a presidential decree published in the Gazette on Tuesday, President El-Sisi appointed the 1946-born Absi as patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church as well as the legal representative of the Church in Egypt.
The Egyptian president also conferred upon Patriarch Absi, who was born in Damascus, Egyptian citizenship.
Absi was elected in June 2017 to head the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.
Father Rafic Greiche Francis, the spokesperson of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Egypt, said in a media statement that the Church had applied for Egyptian citizenship for Absi so he could manage the properties of the Church in the country following his election in July, as is the custom for non-Egyptian patriarchs.
Christians are estimated to make up around 10 percent of Egypt’s population. The vast majority of Christians in Egypt follow the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
*This story initially stated that Youssef Absi replaced Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak as the patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church of Alexandria. This was incorrect, as Patriarch Sidrak still retains his post.
Ahram Online would like to apologise to Patriarch Sidrak for this unintended error and for any inconvenience that this article may have caused him.