The Future of the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria

I have recently heard from two separate members of the clergy that the Greek Melkite Patriarch Theodore II has said somewhere that should ecumenical discussion eventually lead to full communion (as we certainly hope) he would 'renounce' the title of Patriarch of Alexandria in deference to Pope Tawadros (or whoever is the Coptic Pope at that point in time). 

Can someone verify this claim and LEAD ME TO A SOURCE OR ARTICLE WHERE IT HAS BEEN STATED?

Furthermore, I am confused as to what would happen to him personally. He is still, after all, a member of the clergy, and lets be honest, a man of this humility is what is historically required for a hierarch in the church. What would happen to him?

My suggestion was to give him some sort of honorary title like Catholicos, till he be reposed in the Lord, and after that there would be no ordination of Greek Patriarchs of Alexandria, and we would take responsibility for their congregation. Am I mistaken?


  • i don't know, but since he yelled 'axios' when giving patriarch tawadros 2nd the bishop's hat, i (and millions of copts) have loved him lots
    may God preserve the lives of both patriarchs theodorus 2nd and may we join them in bringing God's love in our church.
  • I always thought the logical thing was to have one pope replace the other when one of them passes away
  • edited September 2014
    [edited by admin]

    Wow ..... So the Greek Theodore will give up his congregation in Africa and hand them over to the care of the Coptic Patriarch. Glory be to God!

  • There is a certain point that needs to be made before we speculate in joy (or fear) of some sort of unity with Chalcedonians.  The Chalcedonian Orthodox are going to convene in some sort of an ultimate or pen-ultimate council, where all patriarchs are to meet in 2016, in Instanbul if I'm not mistaken.  The decrees of this council many people feel will determine the future of our relationship with them.  To be very frank, I'm cautiously pessimistic that any real decision will be made that can make a difference one way or another.

    The Coptic Church first needs to get her house in order if we are to consider any type of unity with the Chalcedonians.  We need some sort of theological consistency and stability.  We also need to find a way to address agreement on what type of unity is to be expected, so as to prevent schisms within our church.  To talk about unity with the Greek Pope of Alexandria is futile at the moment.  The best that ever happened really is that they seem to mutually accept each other's sacramental validity since the 1990s.  To progress from this however requires a lot more "universality" of willingness to take that extra "frightening" step that separated us for 1500+ years.
  • ^ I am wondering if any unity happens, what is going to be the future of the Orthodox Churches in North America.
    Will there be different Churches as it is now so we will have our own separate churches with our appointed bishops or the the unity will somehow lead a different hierarchy for the New World with some kind of merged rites to unify all Orthodox (as a minority, we might loose our rich culture). 

    Also, if the Greek Patriarch is to leave Egypt, will the Coptic clergy leave other Orthodoxy countries too (I don't know if any exist) so Copts will kinda loose their identity and merge with the local churches and rites (as Greeks will have to join us, we will have to join them in their countries)?
  • I think that all congregations who will be united in faith will still be divided but only culturally. Its the same reason you have compounded congregations of Copts, Syrians and Armenians in the same geographic regions. Perhaps in some utopian future every country will have one orthodox communion that is composed of different rites, and can be administered independently i.e. The Archbishop of Australia can be elected from a group of candidates from different churches. However, under his authority, every cultural church, Copts, Syrians, Armenians, Greeks, Serbians, Russians, etc. would have their own bishops elected from within their own congregations. Therefore, the Holy Synod of Australia would be a pan-orthodox synod. Same for USA, Canada, UK, etc.

    Furthermore, @Stavro, I have no idea what you're talking about.
  • edited September 2014
    @ Coptic deacon  I was expressing my disappointment at the reaction by some Copts.

    The Greek have virtually no existence in Egypt or Africa. They are less in numbers than any minority , Christian or not. They never had any real presence, rejected by the Copts since Chalcedon. Did you expect the Coptic Patriarch to abdicate for the sake of a non-Copt?

    And of all places, in Egypt? Hah. 

    Consider this :
    We have bishops in Italy. They actually have considerable number of Copts they serve there. The Coptic bishops in Italy have a reason for their existence there.
    Regardless, it would be so ridiculous to tell the Pope of Rome that we will leave Italy for him, in case of unity with the Latins.

    Alexandria has one Patriarch. He comes from the ranks of the Coptic Church, the Church who serves the 20 millions indigenous people of Egypt.

    [edited by admin]
  • Stavro,

    My dear brother. I say this out of affection and love but you sincerely lack love, my brother. Forgive me.

    Pray for me
  • Stavro,
    I don't disagree with your assessment per se. But statements like "their Patriarch was always an imposter....Their history is one of murder, treason and immorality" have more than one interpretation. You eloquently described a political interpretation (one which I agree with). But as such, there can be more than one interpretation. Take for example, the Chalcedonian claim that St Dioscorus was a murderer. It is one we vehemently deny. In both cases, each party defends their respective claim of murder by citing primary sources and each part counterclaims some sort of malficensce (So and so ancient historian was biased, So and so scribe of the Council X deliberately removed statements from the acts of Council X, so and so bishop translated wrong, so and so document is a forgery. The list goes on forever). 

    At some point, we cannot rely on political interpretation (or more accurately a politically influence interpretation of history and theology). We will never get out of an endless polemic debate that cannot be proven adequately. This is not to say that political analysis is not important or necessary. It is a political analysis that keeps us on our guard. After all, even Christ told us to be political (Luke 14:31). Nonetheless, I think we should put political considerations aside and explore theological ramification of such an action by the Greek patriarchate of Alexandria.

    For example, as minasoloman said "mutually accept each other's sacramental validity since the 1990s" implies that the Coptic Patriarchate believes that the Greek patriarchate did have legitimacy (at least theologically and liturgically). This is something hard to explain. It seems like a theological contradiction. I believe this was the core of coptic_deacons original post. 
  • Mrpete33, 
    It took me a lot of time to understand Stavro's method and bluntness. And even though I do not know Stavro personally, I do not think his blunt comments are a sign of a person lacking love. If anything it is the opposite. "Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect." Heb 12:9

    What Stavro seems to base most of his comments is hard-coded in Heb 12:4-5. "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons"  He sees that Copts have forgotten the bloodshed against our faith and the exhortation of our own patriarchs and fathers against Chalcedon and other matters. He is right. We have forgotten these things. 

    We can disagree on the content of his argument (which I usually do). We can disagree on his method of delivery. But we cannot agree his intentions is lacking love. (Same holds for me and everyone else)

  • I am not going to respond in this conversation but that without love we are nothing and have done nothing. To make unfounded comments such as "the patriarch, his mistress" are comments lacking love. I say this regretfully as I do love Stavro. But I say this not as an attack or reproach but out of love that anger ad bitterness may not darken our souls. In our goal together to become like Christ and to be deified by drawing ever nearer to Him we will be hindered by the fog of anger and darkness of hatred. My love to you all.

    I will not be responding further on this thread.

    Forgive me if I have been an obstacle.

    Pray for me
  • I'm glad we all love each other but can someone find me the resource?

    @Stavro, I am the last person to forget what the Chalcedonians did to us. I may not have a comprehensive view of the theological differences between us and them, but their actions alone were irrefutably deplorable. 

    That being said, my 'glee' in this issue is that, if he actually offered to step down, it is certainly unexpected considering that the greeks are a very stern and not easily changeable people.
  • edited September 2014

    @ Remnkemi

    Thank you for your educated post. Thank you as well for defending my style. I did not expect it, to be honest.

    While there are many interpretations for any event in history, the facts remain unique.

    The discussion, as far as I understand the OP, is about the situation after the unity with the Chalcedonians is made official. This entails admitting their priesthood, but it will not change history.

    I do not see that Greek or Chalcedonians have any moral or legitimate ground to claim one inch of Egypt because of the below facts.

    1) Between Chalcedon and the Arab invasion, all their Patriarchs appointed by the Emperor have been rejected by the Copts, the dominant group in Egypt at the time and to this day.

    2) The congregation of the Chalcedonians was mainly an assembly of the Imperial envoys, politicians, Byzantine garrison and mercenaries. These were the occupation forces of Egypt and the persecution army of the Church. The Chalcedonian Patriarch often acted as the religious and military leader, two in one package, persecuting the Copts (Killing millions) and led the efforts to destroy their faith.

    3) The Greek / Byzantine Patriarchs were involved in deplorable activities, such as slave handling. Arabic resources state that Cyrus (El-Mekawkas) sent two noble and beautiful Coptic girls, Mareya El-2ebteyah and her cousin, to Muhamed, as a token of friendship. They were sent as sex slaves. Cyrus castrated their male cousin and sent him along with the girls. This is the caliper of the Greek Patriarchs in Egypt.  

    4) After Islam, the Byzantine population disappeared from Egypt and the East Mediterranean, because the armies of the Byzantine Empire that constituted the Byzantine congregation were expelled from Egypt by the Arabs. There are no records of any significant presence of any Greek or Chalcedonians population after the Arab invasion. The Patriarchs were sent from Constantinople, never Copts, and were used by Islamic rulers as a thorn in the side of the Coptic Church. Their role was of an ambassador and not religious shepherd.

    5) The Chalcedonian population increased in the 19th and early 20th centuries with the waves of immigration from the Balkan, Greece and Turkey, mainly due to the wars in Europe, their persecution at the hands of Turks and partially due to the great economy of Egypt that the dynasty of Muhamed Ali established. The Chalcedonian Patriarch suddenly had a population, but of foreigners. They left in the 50’s and 60’s, and only very few stayed. They are not integrated with the Coptic population, except when married into Coptic families.

    My question is: How do the Chalcedonian clergy, Patriarch, priest or deacon, claim any legitimacy for their presence in Egypt? Not connected by race, no shared heritage and their participation in our history is one of atrocities, racism and demoralization of Egypt.

    I personally think that the Greek have no intention to claim Alexandria or Egypt if a unity occurs. There is nothing attractive about Egypt for Greeks. Egypt is under political pressure and will be dragged in regional conflicts in the near future. The Copts are under persecution all the time.

    They are using their non-existence in Egypt as a bargain card to lay hand on the attractive dioceses, where the Copts have succeeded to establish themselves while the Greek and Chalcedonians totally failed. North America, South America and growing super power India are prime examples of the attractive areas.

    If they mention Alexandria, we should tell them to give over Greece.  

    [edited by admin]

  • @ Coptic Deacon
    I used your original post to criticize the attitude of the Copts towards this “issue”. It has nothing to do with your inquiry and I am not assuming any position on your behalf. I am happy that you recognize the atrocities of Chalcedon though. Not so many Copts are able to do the same.
    @ mrpete33
    I love you too, brother.
    Discernment is the mother of all virtues. Love without discernment and knowledge is lust. What I see among Copts is a lust for unity, characterized by a lack of wisdom and the inability to assess the future ramifications of unity on the Copts
  • @Stavro

    How have the Chalcedonians failed in North America? They seem to be going rather well.

    And how have the Copts established themselves in India? Wouldn't this be uncanonical since there is already an Indian Oriental Orthodox Church?
  • perhaps patriarch theodorus 2nd (EO) is aware of the history and planning to change things.

    personally, i don't think patriarch theodorus 2nd (OO) is naive enough to let significant power over egyptians pass over to greece or turkey.

  • @ Qawe<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Do not see
    how the Greeks are doing well in North America. Given the length of their
    presence in this region, and the emptiness of their churches compared to the
    Coptic Church, they are doing miserable.

    The best
    among the Chalcedonians are the Russian-speaking churches, but it is also
    relative to the rest of their pool. At least they have a few congregants less
    than 40 years of age.

    If this
    ever imminent unity happens, it will involve all branches of Orthodox churches
    who reject the robber synod of Chalcedon. India is our sister Church as you
    know. Chalcedonians will love to have a presence in a rising nation. At least I
    think so.

  • Stavro,

    I have waited all week for others on the site to correct your highly insulting language and obvious unchristian behavior, but the responses so far have seemed to tolerate your ridiculous posts. You have crossed the line here in many ways, and this reflects very badly on our entire community if not corrected, especially at a time when we are closer to unity as never before.

    I will not even address your points and accusations, before you edit all the offensive language (if that is possible).

    Forgive me for the strong response.
  • edited September 2014

    [ edited by Admin ] 

    Stavro, consider that we are forgiving you by deleting your text...what's better than that?!

  • edited September 2014

    Better than
    what, admin?

    [ It was me, minatasgeel. I don't know. What's better then forgiveness?! Also, you should welcome our new Global Moderator: RamezM ]



  • One of the issues I always grappled with, can oneness of faith remove past divisions of councils and saints?  Stavro does not believe this, and he takes a very caustic view of the situation.  I have butted heads with Stavro before on these issues.  If I'm not mistaken, ever since (I believe that was you, but I could be wrong), he has not really changed his mind or style.

    There are some pleasing things about Stavro.  He now confirms the Orthodoxy of Abouna Matta al Maskeen and has been quite repentant of his past views of him and past views of deification.  I think for once, I personally bit my tongue (or my fingers) at times when Stavro makes these comments, but these are not comments that surprise me.  Rather than attack Stavro, I try to slowly address at the very least where I would disagree on the issue.

    That's why I haven't really responded.  I openly disagree with Stavro on the idea of the Chalcedonian Church.  Based on their faith, the essential dogmas, I fully think, in my heart of hearts, that in the EOs, just as in the OOs, there exists the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  What remains to be seen is agreeing on not accepting extraneous issues, but only those of the faith, in the spirit of the union between St. Cyril and John of Antioch.  I fully believe this, but the slowness of this process also hurts me and saddens me, as it gives people opportunity from both sides to continually send insulting words to one another.
  • edited September 2014


    Good old days on I am politically correct now. J

    You have
    been at the receiving end of some of my choicest posts. You dished out some
    good stuff as well. You do not go away…. Rocky Balboa style. This is a compliment,
    in case you are wondering.  

    participation in this thread is not to refute any unity talks or ecumenical
    efforts. I am done with this subject. For all practical reasons, the dominant majority
    of Copts are already united with all Chalcedonians (Byzantine, Latin and

    My posts
    are focused on the outrageous claims of the Greeks to the See of St. Mark, should
    this unity become official. I cannot even challenge this audacious claim
    without being called anti-Semitic anti-unitic” and lacking love. It is easier to
    attack Israel on Fox news than to show disagreement with the actions of the
    Chalcedonians on a Coptic site.  

    [edited by admin]

  • And on top of it, the formatting of my posts is messed up. Effff ..............
  • Minatasgeel,

    Thank you for the clarification. I see. The discussion boards lose their
    purpose when the posts are edited arbitrarily.




  • I hope cooler heads prevail. 

    Like most arguments on these forums, there is quite a lot of misdirected, conflating arguments happening at once. Stavro's comments were directed at his view of the Greek patriarchate of Alexandria. Some responses to his argument seem to transfer his argument to all of Easter Orthodoxy instead. Stavro was specific in his comments, albeit, with very poor use of language. His argument, at least as I see it from what he wrote here, does not apply to all Chalcedonian Churches. All arguments and responses need to be specific and direct (I'm saying this first to myself).

    While I understand that most people in favor of unity believe Stavro's comments will hurt and offend, not only the Chalcedonians but the Copts also, we shouldn't worry that much. A unity that does not unite us to the core, in complete totality, is not a unity we should seek. The unification process is supposed to be a painful process after 1500+ years of division. If a unity cannot survive abrasive opinions, then it should not occur anyways. If unity is based on love and long-suffering, there is nothing to worry about from Stavro's or any other similar comments. 

    I tried to show that Stavro's response was one political interpretation. Even though we may disagree with his political comments, disagreeing with Stavro based on theological or moral reasons is not altogether fair, to say the least. I tried to turn the conversation to theological analysis but that didn't work. I was actually planning on responding to Stavro's post, point by point, responding to his political analysis and exploring theological explanations. Hopefully, we can still do that.

    Finally, let's keep in mind that coptic_deacon's original question was never answered. Let's refocus our discussion on something productive.
  • Hey Stavro, good days but thank God the better ones are here :-p

    I am not saying your posts are uninformative but the way the info is presented is what Ramez and other may dislike. I don't blame them. That's the main issue for all us, egys, we just can't present the knowledge in a good way.

    For formatting, i recommend writing whatever you want, then Remove Formatting or just copy all your text into notepad and copy it from there again and paste in the post window.

    Editing the posts i picked up from Abouna Peter when he was active here. It's a good way to annnnoy the poster more than just deleting the post. So as long as we, the admins and mods, like your posts, you'll be good :-). jk. As long as your post is acceptable to all audience and on point, while respecting others (present or absent) you should be good. 
  • Any Sources????
  • I can't find any sources for a future unity between the Coptic and Greek patriarchates of Alexandria. However, this is not new. A similar attempt was allegedly done in the 19th century between Pope Cyril IV (Coptic) and Patriarch Callinicus (Greek). I found 2 sources on that unity.

    1. Fr Herbert Moorse, Account of a Visit to the Christian Churches in Egypt, 1883, 1884.
    "With the Coptic Church especially there was a question some years ago of uniting under the Patriarchate of Kallinikas (Callinicus) for the Orthodox, and Cyril for the Coptic. Unfortunately the idea did not succeed, owing to the death of the Coptic patriarch."

    2. Fr G. Greenwood, Account of a visit to the churches in Cairo. p.11-12
    "About thirty years ago, then, when Abbas was Pacha of Egypt, the Coptic Patriarch Cyril and the Greek Patriarch Kallinikus were great friends and they conceived the idea of drawing the two churches together. With the Oriental caution they set nothing down in writing; but the particulars of the scheme were thoroughly worked out between them, and the basis of the arrangement – as Sophorius informed me – was the Greek Kallinikus should acknowledge the supremacy of his Coptic friend as Patriarch of all of Egypt, by resigning his office into his hands, and that Cyril should reinstate him as patriarch of the Greek-speaking residents." 

    As you can see from the more detailed source, the Greek patriarchate would essentially be abolished but the Coptic patriarch would ordain a Greek "patriarch" for Greek-speaking residents". There are 2 problems with this claim. First, Abbas was not Pasha during the reigns of the two Alexandrian patriarchs, Said Pasha was. So this Fr Greenwood is not a really reliable source. Second, one assumes the plan was Callinicus would be reinstated as bishop of Greek Alexandrians. 

    In this scheme, as Stavro alluded to, the weak claim of the Greek Patriarchate would be dissolved. In doing so, the Greeks would acknowledge the inadequacies of a Greek patriarchate in Alexandria. It would also allow the Greeks to see the historical authenticity (and supremacy?) of the Coptic patriarchate. 

    None of this can actually be verified. One or two small paragraphs cannot logically be all the information we have on an alleged unity in Alexandria over a century ago. I could find no corroborating evidence or details of an alleged unity in the 19th century. (Ragheb Moftah's claim in El-Keraza 1975 is the weakest of all. So please do not "remind" me of it). My guess is that rumors of a 21st century unity in Alexandria is as much hearsay as the first one. And we likely not find any sources to a "in-the-works" unity of the Alexandrian patriarchates until it is finalized.
  • @Remnkemi
    There cannot be a 21st century unity between the Alexandrian patriarchates without a unity of all the OO with the Greek Alexandrian patriarchate, i.e. what was allegedly planned in the 19th century cannot happen now.  This is because in the Addis Abba conference with all OO churches in the 1960s, it was agreed that the OO churches would only enter a unity with the Chalcedonians together, i.e. the Copts can't do it by themselves.

    In regard to Stavro's posting, it seems that, ironically, his point has been bolstered by the censorship of his posts.  This censorship suggests an inappropriate desperation for unity ("especially at a time when we are closer to unity as never before"), without theological/political arguments to get in the way.  If Stavro's argument is invalid, correct it.  If not, maybe he has a point.  The only thing I found objectionable (although tbh I did not read the post that was edited by the moderator) in his posts was his reference to the patriarch's "mistress", but other than that it seems that some disagreed with him politically.

    Furthermore, we need some politically colourful characters like Stavro on this forum, otherwise it would be pretty boring!  And his caution towards ecumenism may well be justifiable.  When you see things like the Pope of Rome kissing a Koran, it is obvious that there is 'good' ecumenism and 'bad' ecumenism (and the EO in fact do teach this distinction).  And since our hierarchs do not distinguish between the two types (at least I personally have not come across anything from a bishop/HH warning against ecumenism done the wrong way), but simply use the word 'unity' in an exclusively positive sense, one has to wonder whether the 'good' ecumenism which is currently being practised will eventually degenerate into 'bad' ecumenism, when the political circumstances are right. And that is why I feel such censorship - which has the potential to effect (or maintain) change in the political thought of Copts - is so dangerous.
  • edited September 2014
    Adrian!!! (quote from Rocky...just in case people were confused)

    I remember reading somewhere, and I'm having trouble finding it, a speech written by HH Pope Kyrillos VI.  I forget what or whom it was addressed to, but I remember he mentioned how one of his predecessors of his namesake (I forget whether it's the fourth or the fifth) used to be entrusted by the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria to take care of his flock when he was gone somewhere.  Despite bad history, very recently, there has been a growing fondness of one another.

    This fondness comes from a deep-rooted belief that we are related to one another in some way.  If we see Egyptian Muslims as long lost Copts who are our brothers, who we love and long to be brought back into the bosom of the Church, how much more those who share practically the same Orthodox faith as we do, despite the schism!

    I've gotten into nasty debates with Chalcedonians.  I have defended my Church and her saints.  But I also do have that fondness, where despite our conflicting histories, I desire that we be united in the realization that there is in both of us the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  And for a while, I thought it was good to do this unanimously altogether.  But I think it's much better to do this locally, one by one.  On a universal level, it will never be accomplished.  But when every area proceeds to accomplish unity on a local level, eventually and slowly, I believe we will be heading in the right direction.

    And so if the Greek Orthodox of Alexandria desires this unity, they can be as bold as the Syrians, taking bold steps to be at the forefront of unity, and co-sufferers of Christ might I add.

    But, coptic deacon, I have to give you a realistic advice.  All these are just rumors.  Years ago, a priest told me, "we are very close to union, probably within the next five years".  It's been more than that.  Don't hold your breathe on these rumors.  There is a stagnancy going on.  Some of it has to do with theological conflicts within our own Church, and that's why I mentioned that we need to get our own house in order first.
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