Praise for Egypt's Al Azhar Statement

Patriarch Gregorios III Laham

Letter addressed to President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt from Patriarch Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch.

To his esteemed Excellency, President Muhammad Mursi

Greetings, with my prayer and blessing for your preservation and success! Loving greetings to you, Mister President, together with congratulations and good wishes for your new post as President of the great Arab Republic of Egypt!

As Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, I am proud to be an Egyptian citizen and proud that the Melkite Greek Catholic Church is Egyptian too. Our Melkite Greek Catholic children have done a very great deal for Egypt’s progress and prosperity.

Today, despite the fact that we are few, we serve Egypt’s sons and daughters through our work of mind and faith, such as through our cultural, educational, school, health, social, artistic and dialogue services, in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities of beloved Egypt.

We pledge our abiding loyalty to Egypt, our country, and we implore the Most High God (to whom be praise and glory) to support you in your great responsibility, as you are President of the Republic at a turning point in Egypt’s contemporary history and in the wake of events which our Arab world is going through.

We are sure that you will guide the ship of state of this great Arab and Islamic country with wisdom and ability and we assure you that it matters very much to us as Egyptian citizens and members of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church that Egypt should remain the mother of the world, playing its role as pole, pioneer and pilot in the Arab world both inside and outside Egypt - and that in the wake of the Al Azhar statement, that might be termed the charter of freedoms, constituting part of the charter that I proposed to be issued by Arab countries in these tragic, crucial circumstances under the name of the modern Arab human rights charter.

It would be the best contemporary response, through which the Arab world with its Muslim majority could speak to the Western world. This charter could be the basis of egalitarian citizenship, which is mother of all other freedoms.

We also want it to affirm the role of great Egypt as the biggest factor of unification for Arab countries, Arab alignment, and Arab position and role. We think that the lurking evil that is destroying the Arab world and Arab nations is Arab divisiveness, which paralyses this area’s progress.

And we emphasise especially the importance of Arab unity in order to find a just, global and permanent solution to the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict. This conflict is spreading the darkness of its shadows over the region’s nations and violating the young generations, hampering progress towards prosperity, development, openness, democracy, dialogue, solidarity and that concern for one another of which the Holy Gospel and the venerable Qur’an remind us, assuring us that if one members suffers, all the other members suffer with it.

This letter will reach you through the good offices of our patriarchal vicar to Egypt, His Grace, Archbishop Georges Bakar. I hope to meet you personally at a convenient time when I shall have the honour of bringing you again congratulations and good wishes from Egypt’s Greek Catholic sons and daughters, faithful to their mission in its service and to their loyalty to it.

With renewed congratulations, love and huge appreciation for Your Excellency,

Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
For Melkite Greek Catholics 


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