What is Refcemi?
Refcemi is the Coptic Orthodox Office for Advocacy and Public Policy, and was founded in October 2019 by His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, and Papal Legate to the United Kingdom. Archbishop Angaelos is widely recognised for his extensive advocacy work, and as a result was conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty The Queen for ‘Services to International Religious Freedom.’
Refcemi works to address a broad range of advocacy issues, especially that of Freedom of Religion or Belief, around the world. This is done from the intrinsically Christian perspective of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, the presence of the image and likeness of God in every person, and His granting of all His humanity the right to choose, believe and worship freely. Refcemi speaks into matters of public policy both in the United Kingdom and further afield.
What does ‘Refcemi’ mean?
‘Refcemi’ is the Coptic word for ‘advocate’. It speaks to the resilience of the Coptic Orthodox community which has lived through millennia of persecution, and in spite of these struggles has not retracted into a state of victimhood, but rather, has used this experience to stand and advocate for others. Archbishop Angaelos, Founder and Director of Refcemi, elaborates:
“At the beginning of the second millennium, we saw a campaign of aggressive persecution throughout Egypt looking to eradicate Coptic culture as a whole, and its language in particular. During that time, Coptic Christians were heavily and brutally persecuted for using their indigenous language, but it is inspiring to witness, in the twenty-first century, the use of a Coptic word, from the Coptic language that has endured and lives on, to advocate for people of all faiths and none around the world out of our own experience.
What does Refcemi do?
Refcemi does three things: listening, speaking and impacting.
Refcemi listens to the voices of those persecuted for their religion or belief about the challenges they face but also their needs. Refcemi organises roundtables, conferences and webinars with experts and affected communities; to educate on the situation and to give a platform to the persecuted.
Refcemi gives the voice to the affected communities engaging the UK Parliament, UK Government (and other governments) and international actors. ·
The work of Refcemi is action-oriented to drive change to the lives of those persecuted.