Doors opening for first Coptic Catholic Church in Southern Hemisphere

By Daniel Nour
St Mark's Coptic Catholic Community parishioners standing outside of their nearly completed church in Prospect. Image: Supplied/ Mr Anis Gorgi

After 30 years of prayer, patience and perseverance the community of St Marks Coptic Catholic church in Prospect are about to open the doors of their long-awaited church. The community is now looking to raise funds to assist in the final stages. 

The parish of 200 families will celebrate the construction and consecration of the only Coptic-Catholic church in the Southern Hemisphere early next year. The building is being modelled in the traditional Coptic style with domes, an iconostasis to separate the altar from the people, intricate carvings and religious art.

Since they first started gathering in Sydney in the early seventies, the diaspora has keenly felt the struggles of the wider Egyptian Christian community. Historically, persecution and conflict have dogged Egypt’s Christians, according to youth leader, Moheb Salama.

“We have witnessed loss of life throughout the country, especially those from poor and rural areas but they remain strong, passionate and committed to upholding the witness of Christ and the deposit of faith,” Mr Salama said.

Janet Salem, who is helping to coordinate a church fundraiser on November 24th, sees the profile-building of the church as a way of benefitting Catholics throughout Sydney.

“We’re hoping to get a bit of exposure for our parish. We’ve got a few guests coming from outside of the parish which will help others know about our community.”

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The funds are essential for the church, Mrs Salem says, and will go towards finishing touches on the church’s design: like the staining of the windows and the Stations of the Cross.

Mrs Salem spoke of the deep longing the entire community has for the inauguration of the church, which is set to happen early next year and will involve a visit from the church’s patriarch, His Beatitude Ibrahim Sedrak, who will be flying to Sydney from Egypt.

“This has been a long awaited dream. To see it come to life and to see it happen is a huge accomplishment for the community.

It’s a place where I can find my children and, I hope one day my grandchildren celebrating the joys of future generations. I hope to see a lot more people inside!”

Those wishing to make a contribution to the ongoing construction of the church can do so by attending a Church fundraiser party which is being held in Bonnyrig on Saturday Nov 24th.

Tickets are available at www.bit.ly/2AyrDtr

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