Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II cancelled his weekly sermon at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral on Wednesday after it was interrupted by protesters demanding the right to divorce.
The commotion by 20 Christians demanding a church clearance for divorce and a second marriage prompted the head of the Egyptian church to cancel the sermon before having the chance to start it.
“Egypt is a civilian state… freedom of divorce,” chanted the protesters.
One affected Copt who participated in the brief protest said that the cathedral's security had asked them to delegate four members to meet with the pope but were never allowed to meet with him, infuriating the group and prompting them to protest outside the cathedral's main gate.
Demands by several members of the Coptic community of the adoption of civilian marriage and the right to divorce have been highly contentious for years.
Egyptian churches have yet to approve a law proposed by the government late 2014 unifying personal affairs regulations for non-Muslims. Civilian marriage advocates’ hopes are pinned on the document for resolving their clash between the Church, which had for long adhered to the prohibition of divorce except in case of adultery or conversion by either spouse.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm