News From the Mother Church
Papal Visit to America
H.H. Pope Shenouda travelled to America from 28 July-3 September. During this visit, which included an operation on one of his eyes, the Pope met with the Canadian priests and the priests from the Eastern Coast of America as well as leading the annual Clergy Seminar in Boston. His Holiness inaugurated a new monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary & St. Moses the Black in Corpus Christi near San Antonio and consecrated a church there. At San Antonio he consecrated the altar of the new Church dedicated to St. Anthony the Great.
New Coptic Priests in England
We welcome Father Luka Kamel Boules, formerly the priest at St. Mary’s Church in Garden City, who is now serving with Fr. Mikhail Ibrahim at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Golders Green, London. We also congratulate Father Peter Fathy who was ordained priest on 6 November 2005 by His Grace Bishop Missael of Birmingham.
Coptic Church get own satellite TV
The Coptic Church has been in the forefront of using modern technology as part of its ministry and a significant step forward was the inauguration of the Aghapy Coptic television network on 14 November 2005 on Telestar 12, a US-operated satellite network which spans Egypt and several African countries.
Previously it has only had access to NileSat, the primary satellite provider in Egypt and across the Arab world, which has broadcast one Coptic mass a week on its government-run cultural events channel or to the long-established ecumenical channel, Sat7, whose director, Terry Ascot, is a member of the Coptic Church.
Under the auspices and private funding of Bishop Boutros, and with the help of Father Bishoy El-Antony, as Director, Aghapy began transmitting promotions comprising sophisticated, images of Coptic life in Egypt. Any suggestion that the new network would be involved in Anti-Islamic or political broadcasting is rejected, the emphasis being on a religious, pastoral, educational, expression of our views, of Coptic life. Initially it will broadcasting exclusively to American audiences in English and Arabic, but hopes to begin international broadcasts within a few months. According to Father Bishoy, the channel will use low-budget production methods: talk shows on topics like women and the family will be taped from the living rooms of church members and staff members will then edit these, adding graphics and music. The tapes will either be mailed or hand delivered to the TeleStar broadcasting centre in the United States, which will then broadcast previously taped programmes shot and edited by Aghapy’s mostly volunteer staff. Aghapy programming includes liturgies from Coptic churches around the world, Bible studies, Coptic language classes, biblical cartoons and programs for children and discussion groups.
There already exists another network, CoptSat, directed by Bishop Marcos of Shoubra El Khema, which was developed to establish programming for its followers around the world. Financed exclusively through private donations and church contributions, CoptSat has begun developing programs addressing the core issues facing the Coptic community, both in their spiritual and private lives. Like Aghapy, their broadcasting is via cable providers in the United States.
New Papal Residence in Alexandria
On 14 January Pope Shenouda inaugurated the new Papal residence in Alexandria, which has taken some twelve years to complete. The greatly expanded new residence contains a 500-seat auditorium for use by the Theological College as well as clergy meetings.
General Assembly of WCC
The General Assembly of the World Council of Churches convened at Porto Alegaria in Brazil from 14-23 February 2005. Catholicos Aram of Cilicia retired as Moderator after having served for two distinguished terms. The official Oriental Orthodox representatives on the WCC Executive Committee are Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette and Bishop Viken Aykazian from Etchmiadzin. Among the Coptic delegation which accomnpanied Pope Shenouda were Bishop Angaelos and Father Antonious Thabet from London.