Coptic Orthodox Church a blessing to the Nation

( [email protected] ) Nov 14, 2003 12:05 PM EST

In an address to State Parliament, the Leader of the Christian Democratic Party Rev Fred Nile, gave a heart-felt speech in support of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the passing of its Bill.

Rev Nile began by relating his personal association with the Church over many years. “It is a great honour to speak in support of the bill because, for many years, I have had close association with the Coptic Church, priests and members of the Coptic Church. I regard it as a privilege to have been invited to speak at many of the churches and to be able to help in the formation of Coptic schools here in Sydney. I was honoured to be one of the guests at the service when Bishop Daniel was enthroned as the Bishop in Sydney. I also had the privilege of visiting Egypt and being invited to the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo when Pope Shenouda III conducted the Bible study?said Rev Nile. “I was privileged to be present when Pope Shenouda III visited Sydney on five papal visits? He further added that “the visits of His Holiness stood out as a significant landmark in the life of the Coptic community in Australia? were an “immense blessing? “a great honour?and “a rallying force for renewed spiritual life?

The Rev Nile then detailed the history of the Church and the contribution of its members to Australian society. “The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest apostolic churches in the world. The Copts are the native Christians of Egypt and the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians, a people with perhaps the longest recorded history. The term "Copt" is derived from the Greek word Agyptos, meaning Egyptian. The Alexandria fathers postulated the church as one holy universal and apostolic Church, as stated in the Nicene creed. Today the Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest church in the Middle East with about 10 million faithful members in Egypt?Rev Nile said.

“The coming of the Egyptian Christians, the Copts, to the Australian continent represents the coming of one the most ancient cultures to one of the youngest countries in the world. I speak from my heart, the Copts bring with them not simply financial riches but riches in culture and the benefit of good education and training in many professions, they bring also the ability to retain their own culture while becoming loyal citizens of their new homeland. More importantly, these people have brought to this modern country the richness of Alexandrian theology and spirituality. From my observation, I believe God led them to Australia to strengthen the Christian culture, conventions and faith of our nation. They do not detract in any way, they add strength and help fulfil that early title given to our nation: The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit?concluded Rev Nile.