Reinforcement Of Correct Deaconate Ranks

13

Comments

  • The Ecumenical Patriarch is nor referred to as "Pope".  His title is "His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch".

    The Armenians refer to their patriarch solely with the title:  "Supreme Catholicos" for Etchmiadzin and "Catholicos" for Cicilia.
  • Stavro,
    I'm sorry I forgot to mention Ethiopian Tawehdo Orthodox Church and Eritrean. Apparantly, the information online is different than what you suggested.

    Ethiopian:
    Abune Basilios ordained by Pope Cyril VI as the first Patriarch and Catholicos of the Ethiopian Church in 1959 was already Archbishop of Ethiopia since 1948 ordained by Coptic Patriarch Yusab II.
    Abune Theophilus was ordained Bishop of Harar in 1947 by Coptic Patriarch Yusab II before he became Catholicos of the Ethiopian Church in 1971. He was killed in prison in 1977.
    Abune Takla Haymanot was a monk before he was ordained patriarch but not because of Canon 15. He was ordained by a committee in 1976 formed by the Communist Derg junta who disqualified any current bishop to become the new patriarch. The Coptic Church never recognized his patriarchate.
    Abune Merkorios was ordained in 1988 but he abdicated in 1991. He is also not recognized by the Coptic Church. There is no information if he was a monk or bishop.
    Abune Paulos was ordained patriarch in 1991 and recognized by the Coptic Church. However, Abune Theophilus ordained him bishop in 1974.

    Eritrean Orthodox
    There is no bibliographical information about the three recognized Eritrean patriarch: Abune Phillipos, Abune Yakob, Abune Antonios. So I can't tell if they were bishops before ordination. There is also no information about the unrecognized Abune Dioskoros in May 2007

    Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church (Indian Orthodox)
    Baselios Mar thoma Paulose II the current patriarch was ordained patriarch in 2010 but he was already ordained bishop in 1985
    Baselios Thoma Didymos was ordained patriarch in 2005 but a bishop in August 1966 and moved to metropolitan for the Malabar Diocese on November 1966.
    All the Indian Orthodox patriarchs seem to have been bishops

    Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
    Torkom Manoogian is the current patrarch. He was ordained in in 1990. Apparently, he was primate but not a bishop since 1939
    Yeghishe Derderian was patriarch from 1960-1990. He was also not a bishop.

    Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople
    Mesrob II Mutafyan is the current patriach ordained in 1998. He was ordained  Bishop in Echmiadzin, Armenia in 1986.
    Karekin II Kazanjian was ordained patriarch in 1990. He was already Archbishop Karekin Kazancıyan since 1966

    That's all the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Nearly every single Apostolic See (Oriental and non-Oriental) has ordained their patriarchs from the bishops.

    I understand that the Coptic Church did ordain her patriarchs from priests, deacons, monks and laymen until the 113th patriarch, John 19th in 1928. I guess the dispute over ordination of patriarch from a bishop is now in it's 83rd year and still going strong. But there is strong evidence that the Apostolic Churches did not consider ordination of a patriarch from a bishopry a violation of Canon 15.
  • RO:All priests are elevated to the rank of Deacon before their ordination. Many Bishops do the ordination on separate days. However, due to the age of the Pope and therefore his intolerance for extended long services, they are ordained deacon before the liturgy, and Priest during the liturgy. Although this ordination takes place, they are supposed to spend a night as a deacon before elevation to the priesthood. I do not have the source for that, but I will look for it. In either case, the Coptic loophole is that of the Byzantines.

    This is a joke. A mere formality void of any spirituality.

    I am not familiar with the necessity of undergoing all kind of deaconship ranks before priesthood. Is there any canons that make this practice necessary?

    Till recent times, the priests usually obtained the ranks of deacons before priesthood for one reason: They were men of the church, immersed in it since their childhood and having qualified for each stage and rank on their own merit. It is only normal for a bishop to pick one of the church men, who are worshipping in Spirit and truth, for priesthood, but it seems to me it was not a requirement. It just came with the culture.

    In fact, in the story of St. Abraam Ibn Zar3ah, the 62nd Pope who oversaw the moving of the mountain of Mukatam, he was ordained Patriarch of Alexandria although he was never a deacon or priest, and never had to undergo the crush deacon course or fast-lane priesthood to be Patriarch. He was a wealthy Syrian merchant who was known for his virtues and spirituality as well as knowledge.

    We should revive the rank of full-time deacons and/or sub-deacons who are consecrated for God and paid full-time by the Church. They should satisfy the biblical and ecclesiastical requirements for deacons and tested through the period of their deaconship for a sufficient period of time before being ordained priests. This way, you eliminate surprises to a large extent.

    It is a shame that our sister / daughter churches like the FOC and BOC take deaconship more seriously than we do.
  • Remnkemi,

    I'm sorry I forgot to mention Ethiopian Tawehdo Orthodox Church and Eritrean. Apparantly, the information online is different than what you suggested.

    I stand corrected. Thank you for your kind correction.

    I think it is only normal to have bishops as Patriarchs for the Ethiopian churches, if their mother Church ordains only Bishops to the Papacy. What moral ground can the Coptic Church stand on if the Pope himself was a bishop?The only time a Patriarch could dictate the canons on the Ethiopian church was with Pope Cyril VI, simply because he did not break them.

    What the local churches consider canonical is irrelevant. What is relevant is what the canons say and how it was applied by the Fathers. It was considered a violation in the four times it happened in the Coptic Church, and caused an uproar among the educated each time it happened. Even the young Nazir Gayed, as I mentioned before, saw a violation that cannot be forgiven or tolerated in ordaining Pope Yousab in 1945.

    A mistake, when repeated, does not constitute a Tradition not does it excuse future infringment on the canons. It remains what it is: A violation.
  • 1) In youth meetings, where priests or other servants (who are encouraged by the priests) are spitting out nonsense from Joyce Meyer, Pat Robertson, Billy and Franklin Graham, Rick Warren... just to name a few.

    Sad. It is universal though.
  • HB, Patriarch Torkoom Manoogian was Archbishop of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in North America.  He was elevated to Patriarch by Catholicos Vasken I (Supreme Catholicos).

    Archbishop Torkoom is the one that opened the Cathedral of St. Vartan for use by the Coptics at the end of the 1960's to allow the formation of the first Coptic Orthodox parish in the United States.

    The Patriarchs of Eritrea (all) were of episcopal rank prior to becoming Patriarchs.
  • One must keep in mind the great tragedies that the three Patriarchs lived through for which there was a fear that a monk out of the monastery would not be able to handle the situation, ie, Armenian Genocide, WWI, WWII.  There was a fear that the Ottoman Turks would carry the same sword towards the Copts, also because the Copts gave shelter to the Armenians in the early portion of the 20th Century.

    The first of the three Patriarchs was ordained in 1928, more than a decade after the the Armenian genocide and years after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Egypt was severed from the Ottoman Empire since the days of Muhamed Ali Basha in the early 1800's and the Turks became irrelevant since the British occupation of Egypt in 1872. I also think none of those could have been influential in 1971.

    HH Kyrillos VI is the one that instituted the "General Bishop" concept with the ordinations of:  Bps. Samuel, Gregorious, and Shenouda, and others.

    Which bishops were ordained "Generals" by Pope Kyrillos VI?

    The three mentioned bishops were assigned to certain dioceses. They were not "general". They were "specific".

    Bishop Samuel was Bishop of Social Services.
    Bishop Shenouda is Bishop of Education.
    Bishop Gregorius was Bishop of Academic Coptic Research.

  • Stav,

    The historical points I brought up were still fresh in the minds of the Church, despite having passed.  I beg to differ about the mark of the Turks on Egypt.  The mark of their laws was still being carried out even under the British Occupation, and even until now it is used as a precedence to persecute the Coptics. 

    Although Pope Kyrillos VI did not call them general bishops, I put general bishops in "quotations", because that is effectively what he did.  You cannot say that there is a bishopric of "Education".  I think that is a semantic of words to identify the same system in place as is now.

    Pope Shenouda was following the precedence that Pope Kyrillos started.  In the history of the Coptic Church, none of the Deans of the Catechetical School were given the office of "bishop".

    All of the General Bishops have "bishoprics".  It's just that no one pays attention to the given label and title.

    Example:  Bishop Suriel of Australia--initially his official title as General Bishop was "General Bishop of Youth Services of the East Coast of the United States", later he was enthroned in Australia.

    I think the title "General Bishop of Youth Services of the East Coast of the United States" is just as set as "Bishop of Education" or "Bishop of Ecumenical and Social Services".

    I'm not going to chime in on my opinion on the system, whether I agree/disagree; like/dislike.
  • Bottom line and getting back to the original topic:  we do not have even 1% fulfilling their proper role in the diaconate.  It is a pity.

    It is because of the lack of diaconal service that all of the other controversies cited in the subsequent posts have arisen.

    I think we need to get rid of all microphones, and see who really has the heart to serve after that exit of electronics.  You will find the number of "deacons" that stand at the front to go down dramatically.

    That's it:  I think the solution is get rid of all microphones in the Church except the one for the priest!  What a great idea!

    You have to remove the rock concert stage production to get a true service profile for the deacons.

    I'm a genius.  I think I should get the Nobel Prize for saving the Church with this great idea.  I can be like Obama and accept a prize for doing absolutely nothing and donate the money to a charity.  One day there will be an icon for "ilovesaintmark" in the Church for having saved it from the disaster that would have been.  There will be a doxology, response for the Praxis, glorification, etc.  Maybe even a church named after St. Mark.  Wow!

    Come on guys walk into your respective churches and pull out every microphone wire, throw it in the trash, and we will see who really wants to serve.  I dare you all.  But you are all a bunch of cowards.

    Everyone talks the talk, but their "ain't" no walk.  All quack, quack, quack....
    All side arguments, and platitudes, but the main issue keeps being avoided.
    You don't need the bishops and priests to police the deacons.  There should be a mentoring and discipleship from one generation to the other.
    Stop blaming the bishops and priests!  They are good people who are dealing with stiffnecked deacons.
    Even Moses and Aaron had difficulty with the stiffnecked.

    You have a bunch of people in England complaining.  A bunch complaining in Australia, and the majority in the United States...sorry, let's not leave out the pseudo-Americans in Canada.

    For those who are wondering if I am kidding:  I am not.
  • [quote author=ilovesaintmark link=topic=12653.msg149349#msg149349 date=1324471157]
    Although Pope Kyrillos VI did not call them general bishops, I put general bishops in "quotations", because that is effectively what he did.  You cannot say that there is a bishopric of "Education".  I think that is a semantic of words to identify the same system in place as is now.
    ILSM, you're right as usual. Speaking of semantics, if Bishop Shenouda was the "Bishop of Education" and I had no formal college education in the 1960's, does that mean he has no jurisdiction over me? The vast majority of Christian Egyptians, especially in Upper Egypt, were uneducated.

    I personally think it's futile to try reduce general bishops, or bishops of services, to a metaphysical bishopric or boundary. Is Coptic research not part of Education? Why have a Bishop of Education and a Bishop of Academic Coptic Research? Does that mean Bishop Greghorios could only research and not educate the congregation about his research? Or Bishop Antonios could only educate the congregation but not research Coptic academia? I would venture to say no one can really disassociate and make boundaries between the two.

    Who exactly does Bishop Moussa have jurisdiction over? Additionally, what constitutes a "youth"?  Is a youth simply someone who is not married, because there are lots of 40 and 50 year old people unmarried and still looking for marriage. And even though I'm married, I consider myself a youth.

    In addition, it does become semantics to call ordination of patriarch from a bishopry a violation of Canon 15 if every Apostolic Church does it (and even the primary opponents you mentioned like Nazer Gayed become patriarchs in the same manner). And we can't reduce our concern to only Oriental Orthodox primates since Chalcedonians are also bound by the Nicene canons.

    I think Fr Peter was correct. The application of Canon 15 is not absolute. It had a purpose that made the bishops ratify it in Nicaea but the spirit of the canon must not include ordaining patriarchs from bishopry, otherwise thousands and thousands of bishops would be condemned and nearly all patriarchs since Nicaea would be considered invalid. This is too much to accept from an absolute view of Canon 15.
  • The application of canons is never absolute but is a matter always of an appropriate conciliar interpretation and application. The source of authority in the Church is always the Holy Spirit, not canons or councils or bishops.

    The intent of the canon remains entirely valid. It is not acceptable at any time for their to be a 'career path' in the Orthodox Church where a person can consider that they can earn a 'promotion' or gain greater power and authority for themselves. This is what the canon is standing against. This is why I do think that it is wise to seek for bishops and patriarchs among those who have not already been consecrated as any type of bishop at all. Where there is a need for episcopal support I would recommend the reintroduction of the properly Orthodox rank of chorepiscopus which is strictly a priestly rank and not an episcopal one.

    I would suggest, though my views are only my own, that those who have a wider ministry in regard to things such as education, should not be General Bishops (which is a novelty) but should be chorepiscopoi of the Patriarch himself.

    Nevertheless it is clear that it cannot be considered uncanonical to elect a patriarch from among those who are already bishops. There are times when it might be considered that it was leading to the sort of self-seeking that the canon deprecates. But the mere fact of a bishop being elected to the patriarchate cannot be considered uncanonical. At best, or worst, it could be considered that a certain candidate was unworthy of the rank.

    There are in any cases other possibilities for the evasion of the letter of the canon. The Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate could remain a diocesan bishop of his diocese while also becoming president of the Synod of the Patriarchate, or the Patriarchate could be notionaly held by that other diocese such that the Patriarch was Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Bishop of the See of XYZ. This seems to me to indicate that it is not the actual transfer of see which is the real offense, but the seeking after preferment and advancement.

    Indeed even the application of the letter of the canon would not exclude a priest or simple monk from being consumed with desire for office and working to engineer his election. Such a man would be notionally 'canonical', but his heart would be 'un-canonical'.

    In the same way, the transfer of a bishop who has proved himself and is humble of heart does not offend aganst the canon, as far as I can see, if this is the will of God. But if it is not the will of God, and if the traditional practice of selecting a monk is simply lost, then it does seem to me to be problematic for our own Coptic Orthodox community. Not because the practice of other Orthodox is un-canonical, but because we should not easily allow the settled practice of the Church to be lost without consideration by the whole Church to some extent.

    It should be clear, surely, in what circumstances the election of the patriarch should be drawn from episcopal candidates, when from a mixed group, and when only from monastics. It should be explained and accepted by the whole Church, why the Tradition should be modified again in the case of the next Patriarch? We do now have a highly educated monastic community in the Church.

    Father Peter
  • [quote author=ilovesaintmark link=topic=12653.msg149351#msg149351 date=1324472058]
    I think we need to get rid of all microphones, and see who really has the heart to serve after that exit of electronics.  You will find the number of "deacons" that stand at the front to go down dramatically.

    That's it:  I think the solution is get rid of all microphones in the Church except the one for the priest!  What a great idea!

    You have to remove the rock concert stage production to get a true service profile for the deacons.
    In theory you're correct. And I wouldn't mind at all to have church services with no microphones. However, I prayed with you once. You have the lungs and vocal cords of a blue whale. I couldn't hear myself think. I have no problem with getting rid of microphones as long as every deacon had your physical stamina and talent. Take away the microphone from me and the person in front of me would yell out "What did you say?" Not to mention the vast majority of the congregation congregates in the last row. There will be increased mayhem. This doesn't justify the rock concert stage production mentality. But I'm not so sure you'd get the result you're looking for.

    I'm a genius.  I think I should get the Nobel Prize for saving the Church with this great idea.

    I think you should get the Nobel Prize for many reason. Just not this one.

    There will be a doxology, response for the Praxis, glorification, etc. 

    I'll start.
    Pirwmi etamahi [email protected] qen ou`cmy `[email protected] vyetafmenre `e][email protected] qen pefcaji etjwri.
    Ete vai pe [email protected] `etafmou] `[email protected] je }menre Piagioc [email protected] ouoh afcaji `nhanmys `ncaji
    Pisorp `[email protected] `etafjoc `nhanmys `[email protected] je nidiakwnon `mperka]@ `e]diakwnia et`cmarwout
    Ouoh eswp [email protected]@ `nni`hbyoui et`[email protected] `nte ]diakwnia et`[email protected] `mmon oumisi `n`hryi qen ]ekklycia.
    Mperjoc qen ]`cmy `[email protected] `mpercaji `nhanme;[email protected] `mperer`pwbs `[email protected] `nte ]diakwnia
    Twbh `mP[oic `e`hryi `[email protected] pinis] `ndiakwn [email protected] ]menre Piagioc [email protected] `ntef,a nennobi nan ebol.


    There will be no translation. A deacon must learn Coptic.

    How's that?
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=12653.msg149359#msg149359 date=1324479920]
    There are in any cases other possibilities for the evasion of the letter of the canon. The Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate could remain a diocesan bishop of his diocese while also becoming president of the Synod of the Patriarchate, or the Patriarchate could be notionaly held by that other diocese such that the Patriarch was Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Bishop of the See of XYZ. This seems to me to indicate that it is not the actual transfer of see which is the real offense, but the seeking after preferment and advancement.
    I agreed with everything you said except this. It is my understanding that the Patriarch is automatically Bishop of Alexandria and all other see where there is no official bishop, like North America. If someone were to be elected to the patriarchate while still being bishop of a diocese, he would automatically have multiple dioceses. So if the Bishop of Akhmim, for example, was given title Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church and See of Akhmim, he would also be Bishop of all other dioceses without bishops. Then the question becomes has he not transferred all the sees (those without bishops and Akhmim) into one mega diocese? I understood the canon to prohibit both the transfer of the bishop and the transfer of the see. Please clarify this.

    It should be clear, surely, in what circumstances the election of the patriarch should be drawn from episcopal candidates, when from a mixed group, and when only from monastics. It should be explained and accepted by the whole Church, why the Tradition should be modified again in the case of the next Patriarch? We do now have a highly educated monastic community in the Church.

    While this is great in theory, will this not be identical to the Roman Catholic practice of choosing the patriarch? It seems the Coptic Church prefers not to categorize all circumstances and decrees into encyclicals, proclamations and officials decisions to avoid "over-categorizing".  Rather declarations and judgments are given in the form of suggestions and teachings. For example, the process to make the general funeral of Palm Sunday not in the sad tune. Another example is the use of the three traditional liturgies among the Coptic Orthodox and the use of Liturgy of St James among the British Orthodox. To the best of my knowledge, there was no official declaration to allow or forbid these practices, unlike the Roman Catholic Church.

  • I don't mean that any other possibility should be considered, but that there are always ways around canons if that is what people are trying to do.

    The title Bishop of Alexandria is already rather traditional rather than real. The Patriarchate is actually in Cairo, and the Cathedral is there. Other Patriarchs have also had to really live outside the place where they are titled. Indeed it would be possible to imagine in 500 years, just imagine, sea levels have risen and Alexandria has disappeared. The Patriarch would still be called bishop of Alexandria even if it did not exist. It is an idea which is related to the fact that Alexandria was the major city of the old Imperial province.

    The Pope of Rome has sometimes had to live in Ravenna or Avignon. The Syrian Patriarch has not always been able to live in Damascus etc etc.

    It would be possible, if it were considered necessary, which I don't, for a small area around the Patriarchate to be called 'Alexandria', and to be always added to the see of the bishop chosen to be Pope. I am not suggesting this, just saying that realities change. The main aspect of the Patriarchal office is not being bishop of a place called Alexandria, which might cease to exist. But to be the President of the Synod of the Patriarchate, and to be the bishop of the major population centre.

    This is, after all, why Constantinople was elevated. It was the capital city.

    As to the issue of organisatio, I consider it a weakness that synodal judgements are not clearly made and published. We know that judgements are made, but they are not well communicated. It is, for instance, forbidden to be associated with Protestant groups, but most young Copts don't seem to know this, or obey the Synod. When the Synod of British Orthodox diocese meets there are minutes taken and decisions are made and communicated. When the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches meets there are minutes taken and decisions are made and communicated. It should be no different for our Synod. The Coptic Church has not traditionally worked by making suggestions. No Orthodox Church works like that.

    When the British Orthodox Church joined the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate there were very clear protocols discussed and signed which did indeed provide for the variant Traditions of the British Orthodox Church. It should be the same for all decisions of the Synod. This is not a matter of Coptic Tradition. We have many canons from the Coptic Tradition which shows that the Church not only made decisions but communicated them. Rather it seems to me to be evidence of the same problems which caused the origin of this thread about the lack of clarity in the diaconal ministry.

    If the Synod wishes to make some instruction for the Church in agreement together then it should be made and issued with an explanation as to why the decision was made and how the decision is to be applied and in what circumstances. Otherwise we have a situation where everyone does as they wants and is unaware of things the Synod has determined.

    It is not a strength of any Church to lack proper organisation and communication. It is not wise to lack clarity so that people become their own Synod.
  • Bet7eb St.Mark,

    The historical points I brought up were still fresh in the minds of the Church, despite having passed.  I beg to differ about the mark of the Turks on Egypt.  The mark of their laws was still being carried out even under the British Occupation, and even until now it is used as a precedence to persecute the Coptics. 

    I respectfully disagree.

    The Turks, since their invasion of Egypt in 1516 and the toppling of the official Mamluk state, did not implement any stricter laws than the rest of the muslim governments since 641. The intention to exterminate the Christian Orthodox was always there since St. Mark preached Christianity in Egypt and will always remain to be there, and there were no extra steps taken by the Turks to realize this goal. There were more bloody eras in Egypt, under Muslim rulers and Pagans / Heretics alike, and none of them prompted to violate the canons.

    It is also not clear why an existing bishop would be able to handle these matters better than a monk. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and not personal qualifications that matters.

    History teaches us that the most successful era in the Coptic Church during the 20th century was the Papacy of Pope Kyrillos VI. The challenges in his era exceeded any other and he guided the Church in all peace. He was not a genuis, he was a man of God and filled with the Holy Spirit.

    You need a saint, not a politican. You need a man of God, not a man of the world. You need a man of prayer and not a man of talk. We need a man of the Church, and not a man who starts his Papacy by breaking the very canons of the Church he is supposed to observe.

    We do not need to exonerate the bishop who moves to the Patriarchate from vain glory and find any reason to make him look good. None of these violations would have happened if the Holy Synod/Clergy/Laity would have upheld the tradition of the Coptic Church, or if the "soon-to-be promoted" bishop declined the offer like Anba Antonious, bishop of Suhag, did in 1971.

    Also, the historical context in 1928 does not support your thesis. In 1919, a true revolution of the people broke and Saad Zaglol with the Wafd Party dominated the political scene. In 1923, a newly elected Parliment, dominated by liberal Wafd, drafted the constitution following the French laws. Saad Zaglol became prime minister with many prominent Copts holding influential offices like Makram Ebeid, Petrus Ghali, and a liberal atmosphere developed in Egypt.

    It is this atmosphere that has produced the 1928 Patriarchate election and not the Armenian genocide which increased in its irrelevance as years passed. RemnKemi -I think- alluded to the need to examine the socio-economical context of any era to be able to research history with more accuracy.

    It is the rise of the elite Coptic class and their increased interference in the affairs of the Church that produced 1928. El-Meneawy Pasha, the famous doctor and the Vice-President of the Magles El-Meli (the highest secular office in the Church, a council that is supposed to handle the finanical affairs of Cairo / Alex) hand picked the bishop to avoid a hardcore "stubborn" Pope like Kyrillos V, whose adherence to the church Traditions proved to be a stumbling block in front of the Coptic elite. He was too orthodox for them, and they were too Western for him and favoured a more Protestant approach to the Church.

    And it worked for them the way they wanted ... three times.

    Also, judge these Popes by the fruits. The small fragments and hints written here and there by writers about the three Popes, although very shy in details to avoid the embarassment, depict a terrible picture of the Copitc Church from 1928 to 1956.

    One of the scandals was the abduction of Pope Yousab, at an advanced age, by a group of Coptic youth who were fired up by the allegations against the Pope. He was deposed and sent to live in a monastery when he was found. His perfect image as a bishop was completely tarnished by his Papacy amidst allegations of bribery, simony, incompetence and being under the influence of his disciple Melek in administration of church affairs. You can refer to Nazir Gayed articles in the Sunday School magazine, if you can stand the extremely harsh language used.

    Why would we ever want to go back to these scandals over a Papacy like that of Ava Kyrillos VI?
  • After all these discussions and opinions ... I want you all to rest assured that there are no canons violated and our popes are all legitimate.

    Keep praying for the Pope Shenouda and all the Orthodox bishops.

    The apostles were bishops and they became the heads of certain churches like St Mark.

    Canon 15 does not say that an archbishop has to be a layman, deacon, a monk. I already mentioned this and will mention again:

    Canon 15 was trying to resolve the issues arose from the likes Origen's move to another jurisdiction without authorization of the Church. To interpret the canon anyway differently would be to create problems for yourself and others.



  • I am afraid I still do not agree with your interpretation and I believe it is mistaken.
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=12653.msg149375#msg149375 date=1324497409]
    I am afraid I still do not agree with your interpretation and I believe it is mistaken.


    Then please provide a concise interpretation.
  • I've just read through this thread, and am very pleased this discussion has sparked such interest (although digressing somewhat from the original topic at times.)

    I have nothing of value to add, and although I haven't the knowledge of the history and the canons to contribute to the discussion, I wholeheartedly agree with Fr. Peter's point about the lack of communication of the Synod's decisions.

    I thank you all for contributing, and I hope you continue to do so because I for one have learnt much  :)
  • me too, i have learned a lot, but not enough to comment on anything that was said!

    except this:
    "You have the lungs and vocal cords of a blue whale."
    had me rolling on the floor laughing. literally.
    ;D
    i am still laughing as i am typing.
    i will forever imagine all of ilovesaintmark's posts as if a large booming voice is reading them out!
    ;)
  • As to the issue of organisation, I consider it a weakness that synodal judgements are not clearly made and published.

    This is very true.

    Are these decisions at least comunicated properly to priest?

    It is, for instance, forbidden to be associated with Protestant groups, but most young Copts don't seem to know this, or obey the Synod.

    Beside the Apostolic canons that prohibits prayer with non-Orthodox and which interpreted in all different manner to allow for it, is there any recent synodal decree addressing the increasing association in prayers and meetings with Protestants?

    A month ago, there was a Protestant dominated prayer meeting in one of our largest and most famous churches in Egypt, in Mukatam. It was an inter-denominational prayer (Protestant, Catholics, semi-Orthodox) meeting that started with protestant songs, prayers and sermons, with full involvement of famous and popular coptic priests such as Magary Younan, Samaan of Muakatam and others, who were really into it. Some prominent figures from the Protestant side were attending such as Dr/Pastor Sameh Morris. The night ended with a liturgy to give an orthodox "excuse" for what was otherwise a blessed Protestant night.

    In a show of support to this prayer meeting, some Coptic churches in Canada (and maybe around the world) organized a prayer meeting with all denominations presented to pray "in spirit and truth" with our "bretheren" in Egypt. The meeting(s) were run in parallel to the Muakatam prayer day, pretty deep in the night here in Canada, and huge numbers showed up. Huge.

    I was not surprised that these prayer meetings took place in one of our churches. It is becoming more frequent in Egypt and outside Egypt and it is fully supported by almost everybody, clergy and laity. We have been long protestantized.

    I am surprised at any reference to a synodal decision regarding association with Protestants, which seems to be contradicted in reality in Cairo, the diocese of the holy Pope. 
  • [quote author=Stavro link=topic=12653.msg149370#msg149370 date=1324496229]
    The Turks, since their invasion of Egypt in 1516 and the toppling of the official Mamluk state, did not implement any stricter laws than the rest of the muslim governments since 641. The intention to exterminate the Christian Orthodox was always there since St. Mark preached Christianity in Egypt and will always remain to be there, and there were no extra steps taken by the Turks to realize this goal. There were more bloody eras in Egypt, under Muslim rulers and Pagans / Heretics alike, and none of them prompted to violate the canons.
    Good point. There has always been Muslim (Roman, Byzantine, French, Ottoman, whatever) intervention in Church politics. The sting of persecution causes one to take preventative measures and yet the election of the patriarchate never changed till the twentieth century. Persecution was not a cause in change of patriarchate choice policy. This makes us conclude that there may have been something else in the 20th century that caused this change in policy. My guess is the Maglis al mili and this ridiculous idea of communal reform that you spoke about. See more below.

    It is also not clear why an existing bishop would be able to handle these matters better than a monk. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and not personal qualifications that matters.

    Again good point. It may not be a spiritual reason at all that have people prefer an existing bishop who can handle matters better than a monk. I think it is a social, cultural reason.

    History teaches us that the most successful era in the Coptic Church during the 20th century was the Papacy of Pope Kyrillos VI. The challenges in his era exceeded any other and he guided the Church in all peace. He was not a genuis, he was a man of God and filled with the Holy Spirit.

    I don't know if you can qualify Pope Cyril VI's papacy as the most successful era. What criteria are using? Lack of previous episcopacy?

    You need a saint, not a politican. You need a man of God, not a man of the world. You need a man of prayer and not a man of talk.

    You  think Pope Cyril VI's hand in hand march with President Abdel Nasser was not political? The autocephaly promotion of the Ethiopian Church had plenty of political pressure. I don't think politics is as barren in the papacy of Pope Cyril VI as you may assume.

    It is this atmosphere that has produced the 1928 Patriarchate election and not the Armenian genocide which increased in its irrelevance as years passed. RemnKemi -I think- eluded to the need to examine the socio-economical context of any era to be able to research history with more accuracy.

    I agree with you that the socio-economic context of 19th century Egypt climate had more influence on this change of patriarchate election policy than the Armenian genocide.

    It is the rise of the elite Coptic class and their increased interference in the affairs of the Church that produced 1928. El-Meneawy Pasha, the famous doctor and the Vice-President of the Magles El-Meli (the highest secular office in the Church, a council that is supposed to handle the finanical affairs of Cairo / Alex) hand picked the bishop to avoid a hardcore "stubborn" Pope like Kyrillos VI, whose adherence to the church Traditions proved to be a stumbling block in front of the Coptic elite. He was too orthodox for them, and they were too Western for him and favoured a more Protestant approach to the Church.

    This is way too eerie. You must have invaded my mind. This is part of my conclusion on the 19th century papacy of Popes Cyril IV and Cyril V which I will present in Los Angeles this summer. 

    Also, judge these Popes by the fruits. The small fragments and hints written here and there by writers about the three Popes, although very shy in details to avoid the embarassment, depict a terrible picture of the Copitc Church from 1928 to 1956.

    Whoa. Also in my discussion on Pope Cyril IV. But obviously from 1820-1887, not 1928-1956.

    One of the scandals was the abduction of Pope Yousab, at an advanced age, by a group of Coptic youth who were fired up by the allegations against the Pope. He was deposed and sent to live in a monastery when he was found. His perfect image as a bishop was completely tarnished by his Papacy amidst allegations of bribery, simony, incompetence

    Ok, you're seriously scaring me. The same thing happened to Pope Cyril V by the Coptic elite (not the youth) who were fired up by allegations of financial incompetence, mishandling of Church property and waqf, alleged ignorance of Coptic clergy, disregard of the poor and abuse of clerical duties. Pope Cyril was deposed and sent to live in a monastery. His image would have been tarnished but the poor laity and the clergy backed the Pope against the Coptic communal committee (maglis al mili) and the Ottoman government. The Coptic elite continued such allegations and the committee was broken 4 times all the way up to the 1920's. 

    Why would we ever want to go back to these scandals over a Papacy like that of Ava Kyrillos VI?

    Because no one sees it as a scandal, especially since there is such a huge precedence in all Apostolic Churches.
  • Although Pope Kyrillos VI did not call them general bishops, I put general bishops in "quotations", because that is effectively what he did.  You cannot say that there is a bishopric of "Education".  I think that is a semantic of words to identify the same system in place as is now.

    Maybe we should start taking the liturgy of ordination seriously as much as we take the liturgy of the Word. When the priest says that "The body and blood of Emmanuel our God, this is true Amen" he means exactly what he proclaims. No semantics or "cool, but we really know what it is" are implied.

    When the Bishops ordain another bishop to a certain Episcopate, they mean what they say and say what they mean and the Holy Spirit seals their ordination, as long as it does not contradict Tradition. This is what the "keys of the Kingdom" mean.

    When Bishop Shenouda was ordained Bishop of Education:

    a) He became a Bishop. He was not a priest but kind of a bishop or a deacon but kind of a chori episcopos. He became a bishop with all the responsibilities and entitlements of this office.

    b) His diocese was Education, which comprises Sunday School, Theological School and the associated affairs. It does not become the diocese of Giza or Assiut nor the diocese of Social Services. It remains "Education". No semantics. 

    The rank of general bishop was started by Anba Shenouda, may the Lord keep his life forever and ever.
  • I think that the meaning of Canon 15 is clear and has been understood clearly in the Apostolic Churches. It is commendable that the Coptic Orthodox Church has been conservative in retaining the most ancient understanding of the canon - but this still does not mean that I consider canons to be absolute, or that it is always wrong for a canon to be modified or even ignored. We are not the church of canons but of the Holy Spirit (I mean the whole Orthodox Church not just the Coptic part).

    Bishops are not to be transferred to another diocese.

    This is not a matter of a person deciding to become bishop somewhere else. Indeed it is not possible for a person just to decide to be bishop somewhere. It means that a bishop is not to be transferred. He is to remain in the place to which he was assigned and committed. Just as priests and deacons are to remain where they are placed for service.

    When I was made a priest it was not in a vacuum but for service in the Church where I am priest.

    Now there have always been times, even in the early period, when this canon was modified, and the fact of barbarian invasions caused major modification since some of the dioceses to which bishops were assigned were destroyed. And at other times it has seemed best to a Synod to allow a transfer.

    But the general principle has always remained. A bishop, priest and deacon are committed to service in a place and with a particular community. They are not to be taken from that place and community in the general scheme of things.

    It would be useful to understand why and when and how the other Apostolic churches have come to modify this canon as a matter of course. It would seem best to me that as far as possible the canon be observed.

    So my understanding is that generally there should be no transfers and the see to which a person is committed should become their family for life. But in exceptional circumstances I do not believe it is wrong for a bishop to be selected as patriarch. I do believe that it is wrong and harmful for the exceptional to become the normal.

    The monasteries are filled with those who are suitable on many counts to be bishops and patriarchs. I would hope that only those of mature years and proven spirituality be selected for consecration as the canons also prescribe. The canons concerning bishops have had to try to eliminate the seeking after power, the selling of offices and the creation of hereditary episcopates. These have all tended to be accomplished by chosing bishops from monastics who have (ideally) no wealth, no children and no desire for power. The canonical selection of patriarch from those who are not bishops prevents any bishop from thinking he can climb further up the ladder of hierarchy and helps them to concentrate on the family they have been given to care for. This seems to me to have been wise and to have been the practice of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and many other Apostolic Churches for much of history.

    I would like to see a return to this practice, but I do not believe it is necessarily wrong to have modified it.

    In my own case for instance. I cannot become a bishop because I am married. Therefore I am freed from all thought of how it might be possible to become a bishop, and how worthy I am to become a bishop, and indeed how much I deserve to become a bishop. It becomes a non-issue and I can get on with the ministry I have been given and which I perform so poorly.
  • I'm also interested in the 19th century. I am writing a paper for the next edition of the Glastonbury Review on the Protestant influence on the Church in the 19th century and their plans to subvert the Church through education of the young.
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=12653.msg149396#msg149396 date=1324507393]
    I'm also interested in the 19th century. I am writing a paper for the next edition of the Glastonbury Review on the Protestant influence on the Church in the 19th century and their plans to subvert the Church through education of the young.

    The bulk of my discussion is coming from this book: From Mission to Modernity: Evangelicals, Reformers and Education in Nineteenth-Century Egypt by Paul Sedra. If you can find it, Fr Peter, it will definitely benefit your paper.
    George
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=12653.msg149395#msg149395 date=1324507173]
    I think that the meaning of Canon 15 is clear and has been understood clearly in the Apostolic Churches. It is commendable that the Coptic Orthodox Church has been conservative in retaining the most ancient understanding of the canon - but this still does not mean that I consider canons to be absolute, or that it is always wrong for a canon to be modified or even ignored. We are not the church of canons but of the Holy Spirit (I mean the whole Orthodox Church not just the Coptic part).

    Bishops are not to be transferred to another diocese.



    Fr Peter,

    You missed to add "on their own accord". The canon clearly acknowledges that the custom and the Tradition was for the clergy to stay where they were ordained. Yet, some moved without the Church's approval. So the canon was to affirm the Tradition.

    What was raised in this thread by Stavro has nothing to with that Tradition and thus with the canon.


    This is not a matter of a person deciding to become bishop somewhere else. Indeed it is not possible for a person just to decide to be bishop somewhere. It means that a bishop is not to be transferred.

    This is true. But the canon did not just focus on the bishopric rank but mentioned the deacon and the presbyter.

    Throughout the Church history, there were priests who were ordained on a particular church but then moved to another. The issue is not the move itself but the authorization of the move.

    We have priests here in the US who moved on their own from Egypt, and consequently cannot serve here.

    The whole issue is the agreement of the Church on the move. The canon's objective was to deal with the disturbance that rises as a result of unauthorized move.

    All the priests that were sent from the Egypt to local churches outside Egypt would be violating this law. Again, authorization is the key.


    When I was made a priest it was not in a vacuum but for service in the Church where I am priest.

    This is true for you and for the many other priests who were ordained on other churches. Service opened up in other areas and they were called to go and serve there. Are they violating the canon. Certainly not!


    Now there have always been times, even in the early period, when this canon was modified, and the fact of barbarian invasions caused major modification since some of the dioceses to which bishops were assigned were destroyed. And at other times it has seemed best to a Synod to allow a transfer.

    Not just during time of persecution but in time of need for clergy. This was true in the past and is true today.


    But the general principle has always remained. A bishop, priest and deacon are committed to service in a place and with a particular community. They are not to be taken from that place and community in the general scheme of things.

    Generally this is true but when the need rises, we cannot say, as stavro suggested along with others, that the Church broke the canonical law.


  • His diocese was Education, which comprises Sunday School, Theological School and the associated affairs. It does not become the diocese of Giza or Assiut nor the diocese of Social Services. It remains "Education". No semantics. 

    No canons were broken as a result of Pope Shenouda enthronement to the See of Alexandria.
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=12653.msg149400#msg149400 date=1324510765]
    [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=12653.msg149396#msg149396 date=1324507393]
    I'm also interested in the 19th century. I am writing a paper for the next edition of the Glastonbury Review on the Protestant influence on the Church in the 19th century and their plans to subvert the Church through education of the young.

    The bulk of my discussion is coming from this book: From Mission to Modernity: Evangelicals, Reformers and Education in Nineteenth-Century Egypt by Paul Sedra. If you can find it, Fr Peter, it will definitely benefit your paper.
    George


    Ah, Prof. Sedra! I've studied with him a number of years ago. It's nice to see that he has this book finally published. I think the book is summary of his longer PhD dissertation of 2006. I have a copy of his doctoral thesis. PM me if interested.
  • You are looking at Nicaea 15, but the same rules were repeated at Antioch just a few decades later. And the epitomes of the canons show how they were understood. The same rules are mentioned in the Apostolic Canons.

    Canon XXI of Antioch says..

    A bishop may not be translated from one parish to another, either intruding himself of his own suggestion, or under compulsion by the people, or by constraint of the bishops; but he shall remain in the Church to which he was allotted by God from the beginning, and shall not be translated from it, according to the decree formerly passed on the subject.

    I am not quite sure what your argument is. I have stated that I do not believe canons are to be absolutised - not that it is for a lay person to modify or set any aside. But it seems to me to be incontrvertible that the traditional and normative position is that bishops should not be transferred outside of exceptional circumstances and that the Coptic Orthodox Church has followed this Tradition until very recently.

    The question for me is not whether this leads of criticism of previous patriarchs but what should the process be for the selection of future patriarchs. I do not see that that canons allow for a continuing selection of bishops as a matter of course, and if the canons are to be set aside then it seems to me that it requires the consent of the Church as a whole.

    There can be reasons for selecting a bishop. But what are they? And why in any situation should the selection of a monk be passed over?
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