Orthodox Church signals objection to constitutional declaration

The Orthodox Church submitted to the presidency on Friday a memorandum of legal objections to the recent constitutional declaration, a state-run news website quoted priest Felopateer Gamil Aziz of Virgin Church in Faisal as writing on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The church understands the nature of the constitutional declaration in the transitional phase and proposes the preparation of a new constitution for the country, different than the suspended constitution, he said.
 
Aziz added that the church is demanding that, should there be amendments made to the suspended constitution,  the participation of the church to the 50-member communal committee not be limited, and that some of its representatives be named to the legal committee that will formulate the amendments.
 
A meeting will be held today between the church and advisers of the interim president to discuss these objections, he said.
 
The constitutional declaration included controversial articles that the church objected to.
 
The article, "The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic state and its system is based on citizenship. Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation," establishes a theocratic state, Aziz said.
 
He stressed that the church had expressed its objection to Article 29 in the declaration, relating to the formation of committees whose duty will be to write up amendments to the constitution.
 
A committee of ten constitutional and legal experts will formulate the amendments, after which a 50-member committee will deliberate and seek to build consensus on a final draft of amendments.