Remembering Abouna Makary, Coptic Priest Loved by Egypt’s Evangelicals

Favorite Orthodox figure on Arabic Christian TV eulogized by fellow evangelist Sameh Maurice after COVID-19 death.

Last month, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church lost one of its most recognized and charismatic priests. Abouna (“Father”) Makary Younan (1934–2022), a well-known figure on Arabic Christian satellite television, died on January 11 of complications from COVID-19.

Just a few miles from where his funeral services were held at the historic St. Mark’s Cathedral, Abouna Makary’s good friend and Christian television megastar Sameh Maurice convened a heartfelt commemoration at downtown Cairo’s Kasr el-Dobara Church, where he pastors the Arab world’s largest evangelical congregation. Together, these two ceremonies affirmed that the late priest’s legacy of praise, miracles, and ecumenism will endure among Egypt’s Orthodox and Protestant Christians alike.

“Abouna Makary influenced the lives of millions in this generation,” said Maurice. “I know of no other person who touched so many people.”

For nearly two decades, Arabic Christian television introduced both Abouna Makary and “Pastor Sameh” to wider audiences, educating viewers in novel ways about Coptic Orthodoxy and Protestantism. At times both sides have been wary of the medium, especially the Orthodox hierarchy.

Representing the overwhelming majority of Christians in Egypt, in recent years Coptic Orthodox leaders have taken contradictory positions on evangelicals. Some are open to dialogue and friendship, while others lead campaigns not only against popular evangelical leaders like Pastor Sameh but also charismatic priests like Abouna Makary. Stylizing themselves as protectors of indigenous church heritage and of the Copts’ place as the Middle East’s largest Christian sect, they doled …

Continue reading…