Cairo (Agenzia Fides) – Copt Orthodox Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Copt Orthodox Church, denied and rejected as misleading, certain rumours circulated on Egyptian media on the eve of Pope Francis’ Visit to Egypt, regarding the controversial question of co-called “re-baptisim” administered to new faithful coming from other Christian confessions. In a statement issued on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Copt Orthodox Church, Anba Raphael rejected “rumours in the media, written before reading the official statement concerning baptism which will be signed during the papal Visit”. To silence misleading conjectures circulated on the Egyptian media, the Secretariat of the Copt Orthodox Holy Synod made known on its face book account the part referring to the question of re-baptisim contained in a joint declaration which Copt Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and the Bishop of Rome could sign on the occasion of the papal visit to Egypt. In this part, without speaking of agreements, there is mention of the path undertaken by the Churches to put an end to the practice of re-baptising Christian faithful who change from one Church to another. “In obedience to the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies the Church , safeguards her and guides her towards the perfect unity, for which Christ prayed ” – we read in the text made public by , Anba Raphael in the prepared version in Arabic, and received by Fides, “today We, Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II, to gladden the heart of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and also the hearts of our children in the faith, we will strive with sincere hearts not to repeat the sacrament of baptism practiced in our churches for a person who intends to join another ecclesial community, according to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and the doctrine of three ecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus. We implore God the Father” says the passage quoted by Anba Raphael “to guide us in the times and ways desired by the Holy Spirit to attain perfect union in the mystical Body of Christ”.
The controversial practice of certain Eastern Churches of re-baptising new adherents coming from other church realities constitutes an element of objective suffering in ecumenical relations and an obstacle on the path towards the restoration of full sacramental communion between those Churches and the Catholic Church. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 28/4/2017).