Although Muallem(7) Ibrahim El Gawhary came from a modest family, he was greatly blessed by God and became principal of the Egyptian region under the Mamluks. This is comparable to the current position of a prime minister. Before heading to work, he went to St. Mary's church at Zewela lane in old Cairo to attend prayer. He sent a messenger to the priest, Fr. Ibrahim Asfoury, asking him to hasten and finish early so that he could leave for work.
The priest understood how pious, generous and friendly the Muallem was with the Pope. So he answered him, “The real Muallem (teacher) is the One in Heaven and the Church is subject to God and nobody else. If he doesn't like it he can build another church.”
The Muallem got the message. He was not enraged nor did he complain to the Pope or isolate himself from the church. Instead, he accepted the priest's words as if they were God’s. He built a church for the great Martyr Abu-Sifin (the Martyr with the two swords) to the north of St. Mary's church.
Afterwards, Fr. Ibrahim Asfoury went to commend him and said, “Thank God your dissatisfaction led to building another church adding to your inheritance and good deeds.”
This is the spirit with which believers deal with one another. Even though they may differ in opinion, they act like doves, picking at one another and then afterwards uniting to eat and fly together. Jesus said,
“Be innocent as doves.”
Also, St. Augustine said, “May we fight like doves and never love like foxes!” Pigeon fighting is gentle while fox friendship holds malice.
(7) This term, (pronounced “moo-A-lim”), means literally teacher. However, it is actually used to signify that the individual referred to is a learned and respected person.
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