Pope Shenouda returns from medical trip and urge Egyptians to vote

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 Mar 2011

The head of the Coptic Church has returned to Cairo after medical tests in the US, urging Egyptians to vote in Saturday's referendum on proposed constitutional amendments

Egypt’s Coptic Patriarch Pope Shenouda has returned to Cairo after a 19-day medical trip to the US.

Pope Shenouda was undergoing tests on his legs, lungs and heart at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

During his time in the US, the Pope met with several priests as well as members of the Coptic community, but refused to discuss any plans of establishing a political party built on religious principles.

Pope Shenouda told Ahram Online that he plans to participate in the national referendum on proposed constitutional amendments set for Saturday 19 March and urged Egyptians to do likewise, deeming the vote the first test of democracy Egypt after the 25 January Revolution.

"It is not important whether they vote Yes or No, but it is important for Egyptians to participate in elections," says Pope Shenouda. "For transparent elections are capable of transforming Egypt into a true democracy."

It is expected that Pope Shenouda will meet with Coptic leaders in Egypt to discuss the attack on the Two Martyrs Church in Helwan and the Coptic protests in front of the TV and Radio headquarters in Maspero.

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