Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church quashes mistaken reports of rift with Russian Orthodox Church

Ahram Online , AP , Friday 27 Dec 2019

Russia’s church has broken ties with the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate in Egypt, who is not connected to the Coptic Orthodox Church

A file photo of Head of Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II while meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Moscow in May 2017 (Photo: Russian Kremlin)

The Coptic Orthodox Church on Friday issued a statement clarifying that there has been no breakdown in ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

In statements published by Al-Shorouk, Coptic Orthodox Church spokesman Father Boules Halim said that the Russian Orthodox Church had decided to cut its ties with the Eastern Orthodox Church in Egypt headed by Patriarch Theodore II, and not with Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, headed by Pope Tawadros II.

Halim added that there had been a mix up between the two churches due to the similarity of names of their patriarchs.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is not part of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

On Thursday, the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it had cut ties with the head of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria following his decision to recognise Ukraine's new independent Orthodox Church.

The Russian church’s Holy Synod also decided that its parishes in Africa will be removed from the Patriarchate of Alexandria's jurisdiction and made directly subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church's head, Patriarch Kirill.

It also added that it will remain in communion with those clerics of his church who didn't support the decision.

The Eastern Orthodox Church in Egypt recognised the new independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine in November. It is the second church to recognise the church after the Church of Greece in Athens.

The Russian Orthodox Church also cut its ties with the Church of Greece in Athens over its decision.

In January, Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who is considered first among equals in eastern the Orthodox patriarchy, recognised the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which had claimed independence from the Russian Orthodox Church.

In statements to AP on Friday, Halim said on Friday that his church had not discussed whether to recognise the Ukrainian church and that Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II maintains "excellent relations" with the Russian Orthodox Church.

The vast majority of Christians in Egypt belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

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