Decisions and Recommendations of the Holy Synod - June 2017 Session

First: Decisions

1. Designation of Amshir 8/February 15 of each year to commemorate modern-age Coptic martyrs

2. Establishment of a special department in the General Bishopric for Social Services to specialize in caring for the families of martyrs and confessors

3. Recognition of the monastery of St. Victor (Boctor) in Khatatba for monks

4. Reiteration of the previous decision: “It is not allowed for anyone to print, or reprint, or to use any rites books that are used in worship in the Church without the approval of the rites committee of the Synod” (June 10, 1995 Session)

5. It is not allowed to use any recording of Coptic hymns as a source or a reference without the approval of the rites committee of the Synod

6. The Committee of Medical Matters:
a.     “The Christian teaching clearly states that any believer is defiled only by sin.
b.    Also, the human [body] “is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), which does not leave the person except in the case of dying in sin. Thus, the woman is pure and a temple for the Holy Spirit all the days of her life.
c.     However, due to the godliness and proper care (readiness) in partaking of the holy Mysteries (Communion), and abiding by the Tradition that has been handed down to us, it is fitting for a man or a woman to abstain from Communion in periods of physical unpreparedness*, except in exceptional cases for pastoral reasons as decided by the priest who is the spiritual-guide for the individual.
d.    We also confirm that a woman is not prohibited under any circumstances from performing all other spiritual practices including: personal prayers, the liturgy, reading the bible, service, or being present in church.
e.     We also confirm that a new-born child (male or female) can be baptized at any day after the birth if necessary.”
*Physical unpreparedness (i.e. bodily discharge of all kinds: nocturnal emission, menstrual cycle, post-birth bleeding, sexual intercourse)

7. Confirmation on passing a pre-marital church-approved course and obtaining a certificate thereof from one of the approved centers is one of the conditions of establishing an engagement record

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Second: Recommendations

1. The Care & Service Committee:

The Synod committee for the fight against addiction recommended that each diocese appoint a priest or a servant to be responsible for addiction cases, while encouraging those that have medical centers or hospitals to establish a special department for psychiatry. The committee also recommended for dioceses to raise awareness on the dangers of addiction for the different educational levels. The committee has also requested the training of priests and servants of both genders on ways of fighting against addiction.


2. The Committee of Faith, Education and Legislation:

The committee values the efforts of H.H. Pope Tawadros II concerning ecumenical relations, and for signing a common declaration with Pope Francis on Friday, April 28th, 2017, which was then published in the Kiraza magazine, Friday, May 5th, 2017, issue 17 and 18 of year 45, pp 6-7.

A great celebration of ecumenical prayer took place thereafter in St. Peter’s Church (Al-boutrosia) to honor the martyrs of that church this year, in the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Pope of Alexandria, the Pope of Rome, and the leaders of Christian churches in Egypt. It was a great day for strengthening ecumenical relations.

The committee also confirmed the distinction between join statements released by church leaders and official theological agreements that must be affirmed by holy Synods (leaders) of each church.


  • Is that last sentence about immediate baptism putting down the canon of a boy is baptized after 40 days and a girl after 80 days. Can you elaborate if you can please?
  • edited June 2017
    The canon of 40 days and 80 days has never been for the child. The days were for the mother since she is always designated to be the "helper" (eshbeen) of the child. So the last part of the statement just clarifies that the child can be baptized at anytime, with the company of another eshbeen (the father for example).
  • thanks for posting this.
  • I don't think the Holy Synod made that clear. Once again, "if necessary", and the woman still has her Holy Spirit, why can't she still be the eshbeen, especially as an "exceptional case for pastoral reasons as decided by the priest who is the spiritual-guide for the individual."
  • @minasoliman...i don't think giving birth can be considered an exceptional case. I was baptized three month after i was born. But i do see how it's unclear in the text. Maybe they should of mentioned the actual canon.

    In any case, it'll be in the hands of the priest. He is the one that will be giving the absolution, and based on that he'll be judged in the last day. To some certain extent, we have to put our trust in God to deal with His servants justly. Specially considering some bishops who were openly against this canon. 

    I personally can't think too much about those exceptional cases, but i don't disagree with the idea. Like, for example, we know that we don't do weddings in fasts. But, this past lent, a friend did his wedding then, with permission from the bishop, because his mom was dying. He got married, and his mom died within the week. 

    So, i can respect exceptions, as long as there are reasons for them. But if the reasons are not there or don't exist anymore, i don't see a reason to break a specific rule. why do you think we are suffering a lot these days with the huge number of undeserving deacons of all ranks?!!! 
  • To be quite honest, this issue did not have a consistent view in ancient history.  The 40/80 rule is something that seems to be only found in one canon in ancient history, the ambiguous "canons of Hippolytus", which might not have been written by him and seem to come in the fourth or fifth century.  Other canons like the Didascalia Apostolorum write AGAINST this practice of post-birth churching (and other similar reasons for abstaining from the Eucharist). St. Athanasius' letter to Amun implies this as well.

    So I wouldn't compare these rules to the rules regarding the diaconate. The diaconate is a necessary rank in the Church. The rules regarding the women does not look necessary in historical and theological studies.
  • @minasoliman....actually, as of 2 days ago, this is not a "recommendation" anymore but a "decision" which must be followed by all bishops. 
  • @minasoliman...may this is a good place to ask this...this canon of 40/80 days were also in the old testament. what exactly "nullified" this canon for it to not apply for us anymore?
  • It's been fulfilled as an Old Testament law. The Council of Jerusalem only required three things from the Law: not to eat from foods sacrificed to idols, not to eat foods that are strangled or with blood, and not to engage in sexual immorality of any kind.

    In this sense, the 40/80 rule makes no sense to adopt since this has been fulfilled. It assumed the unclean nature of woman after childbirth, an idea we no longer believe in. The Didascalia Apostolorum writes concerning the menstrual flow that is actually impious to withhold yourself from the Eucharist because of the "Second Legislation" (Rabbinic laws of purity). This means Jesus did not fulfill the Law and therefore He is not Messiah.

    So when we are saying that a woman cannot be present for her child's baptism and to take the oath on its behalf, we need to be clear as to why. The Synod already said there's no such thing as impurity anymore since the Holy Spirit does not leave her. So the question still remains: why?

  • remember the woman can be present, just someone else who can take Holy Communion will say the faith responses on behalf of the child. my friend who is a dentist says that she bled for longer after having her daughter than her son, so it made sense to her.
  • Medically speaking, to "bleed longer" does not correlate with the gender of the child. Most women take 2-4 weeks, and some can go up to 6 weeks, but usually no more than that.

    So the question still remains, why.
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