Egyptian Chronicles


From the 23rd to 30th of March 2019, Olivier Fleury and Martin Hoegger made about twenty visits to church leaders and communities in Egypt. The welcome was warm and sometimes even enthusiastic. 

Here is the chronicle of this amazing stay written by Martin Hoegger.


Egyptian Chronicles I - Moving towards 2033 with the Orthodox Church in Egypt

"Let's build relationships."  

Received at the papal residence in Cairo on March 25, 2019, we are able to present to Pope TAWADROS the vision of a decade of the resurrection to prepare the jubilee of 2033: the 2000 years of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The welcome of the Pope is warm and engaging!

Faith that moves mountains

We meet Fr. BOUTROS as the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church at the committee of the Egyptian Council of Churches. Our discussion revolves around the question of the date of Easter. According to him, even if the two popes François and Tawadros are currently very open, 14 years will not be enough time to unify it!

The Risen One among us

ABOUNA MAKARY YOUNAN is a great personality of the Coptic Orthodox Church. With about ten members of the Focolare Movement and the Charismatic Renewal, he welcomes us into his home with his wife. His spirituality emphasizes the presence of the Risen One among us. 

Visiting monasteries in the desert

With our Focolare friends, we spend a whole day in the desert, between Cairo and Alexandria, visiting some monasteries. First, we are in ANAFORA, which emerged from the sands twenty years ago. Its founder, Bishop ANBA THOMAS, assures us of his support. The next step are the monastries of SAINT MACAIRE and SAINT BISHOY. 

Not only to dream but to organize

We visit another Orthodox Church as well. The Greek Orthodox Metropolitan (or Archbishop) NICODEME welcomes us to the "Metropolis" of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, in a popular district of Cairo. “Your project is not only beautiful, but also great. We must not only dream it but also organize it.” he says with a big smile.  



Egyptian Chronicles II - Moving towards 2033 with the Catholic Church in Egypt

Listening to young people

In the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate, we meet ANBA THOMAS, one of the bishops of this Eastern Church in communion with Rome. As a biblical scholar and involved in youth ministry, he immediately seizes the opportunity that a decade of resurrection embodies.

The unification of the Easter date 

Father RAFIK GREICHE serves the Greek Catholic Church, another Eastern Church linked to Rome. Most of our conversation focuses on the question of the unification of the Easter date.

The enthusiasm of young people

In the evening, we are in the Catholic assembly of St. Teresa, welcomed by their priests, all Carmelites, and several parishioners, including some of the young enthusiasts members.

Convince the "heads"!

During another meeting, we have the joy of speaking with Father Patricia, also a Carmelite and president of the religious superiors of Egypt, who tells us that we must first convince and unite the "heads".  

Witnessing Christ in a context of a Muslim majority

The Franciscans have been in Egypt for 800 years and with 57 congregations of both women and men, they are the strength of Catholic religious life. We visit them the day after they celebrated with the University of Al Azhar, the commemoration for the 800th anniversary of the first meeting between François d'Assise and Sultan Al Kamil in Damietta.  

The perspective of the martyr 

In the evening, we arrive in front of the great Jesuit College where HENRI BOULAD and MAGDI NAZMI are waiting for us. In this school, more than three quarters of the students are Muslim. The first part of the interview is devoted on the question of the dialogue with the Muslim world.

Unity, easy or tough? 

In one of his congregations, we meet Bishop KRIKOR COUSSAN, Bishop of the Armenian Catholic Church. The meeting is shared in simplicity and fraternity and followed by an excellent Armenian meal!

A jubilee in 2025 in the Catholic Church?

Bishop Bruno Musaro, the Pope's representative in Egypt ("the Apostolic Nuncio") reminds us that the Catholic Church marks every 25 years with a jubilee. Normally the next one will be in 2025. Perhaps it will be related to this decade?  



Egyptian Chronicles III - Moving towards 2033 with the Protestant, Evangelical and Anglican Churches in Egypt 

Giving with joy

Near the great Tahir Square we enter the Protestant temple KASR EL DOBARA, where Pastor SAMEH MORIES welcomes us. During the service after our meeting, Pastor NOURA EDWARD talks about the joy of giving based on the story of the poor woman who gives of her necessities. 

A taste of the sky in 2033?

The next day we visit the COUNCIL OF PROTESTING CHURCHES OF EGYPT, which represents 18 churches. He dreams that in 2033 there will be a great celebration at the foot of the pyramids if the government accepts it! One of his collaborators told us: "The Lord loves this. Full unity will be achieved in heaven, but 2033 will give us a glimpse of it.

Communicating the resurrection through art

MOUNEER HANNA ANIS, Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt, underlines the importance of reaching the younger generation. As a painter and photographer in his spare time, he encourages us to join the artists: “If the story of Jesus is told in the local culture, it will reach people. Putting faith and art together is so important.”

What if the Lord came back before 2033?  

Our project attracts the interest of NASR KATKOUT, the Bishop of the Assemblies of God, who is committed to sharing JC2033's vision with a group of young pastors and suggests that we visit Egypt every two years.




Egyptian Chronicles IV - Moving towards 2033 with the ecumenical movement in Egypt

The resurrection, a treasure for all Christians

BOULOS GARAS, Secretary of the Egyptian Council of Churches, shares his expectations: “I hope that the Jubilee of the Resurrection will find us united... The difference between Christians and non-Christians is the Resurrection. It's our treasure!” 

Mustard seed 

Together with a pastor and a Catholic priest, Abouna MAKARY YOUNAN founded the "Mustard Seed" movement centered on the presence of the Risen One among us.

Moving towards 2033 boosting unity

GUIRGIS SALEH, former General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, insists that unity embodies the will of Jesus and invites dialogue in love. A dialogue that the vision of the 2033 Jubilee will encourage.

Publishing appropriate material for all churches 

RAMEZ ATTALAH, Secretary General of the Bible Society of Egypt, assures us that the Bible Society will be involved for the 2033 Jubilee. He imagined several publications to mark the three years of Jesus' public ministry.

The circle of unity has grown

At the beginning and at the end of our stay we met the "Focolari" (the home in Italian) who actively prepared and participated in these visits. On the last evening, NELLY KHADIGE, leader of the women's community, told us: “The first step is to get to know each other. With your visits, a friendship has developed. You are now leaving with the Church of Egypt in your heart. We have experienced strong times with Christ among us. The circle of unity has grown. We will continue together.”

Is this not a beautiful conclusion to this surprising and intense visit to this land that the Lord trampled on as an emigrant more than 2000 years ago?


Main Image - Coptic Othodox Chrisitans in the region of Mokattam, Cairo Egypt