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Jubilee Celebration of the Coptic Orthodox Church

I was privileged to be invited to the Golden Jubilee celebration of the establishment of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada on Saturday, September 27 in Ottawa which coincided with the Coptic Orthodox papal visit to Canada of His Holiness Tawadros II.

In addition to the honoured guest, Pope Tawadros II, religious leaders from the Coptic Orthodox Churches in Toronto and Ottawa were in attendance, the Egyptian Ambassador to Canada, as well as representatives of the Greek and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, Roman Catholic and Anglican religious leaders, federal members of parliament and many Coptic church members from Ottawa and Toronto plus other guests.

I was struck by the richness of the ancient traditions of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the most ancient Christian Churches, also known as the Church of Alexandria (or the See of Saint Mark) established by Saint Mark in the first century AD. It brought to mind the discussion on Christian unity at the Fire & Fusion conference at the end of August. One of the speakers cited the term introduced by Pope Francis of "unity with reconciled diversity". Diversity is evident when experiencing the liturgical practices of the Coptic Orthodox Church compared to church services of Western Christian churches. But what they have in common, what unites them is the overarching belief in the Holy Trinity (God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit) and the Gospel message of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. On Saturday I felt moved by an overwhelming sense of unity of the body of Christ and pray that this unity grows and becomes more evident. As John Arnott stated at the August Fire & Fusion conference there is a choice to either stand and watch the Holy Spirit at work or intentionally work towards unity.


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