Shenouda Wahba Attallah Georgeos, 43, who had in 2003 taken orders at St Macarius Monastery in Wadi al-Natroun in Egypt’s Western Desert under the monastic name of Yacoub al-Maqari, ordained a priest in 2010, and dismissed from St Macarius’s on 30 March 2015, has been defrocked. The decision was taken on 28 August 2018 by the Committee for Monasticism and Monastery Affairs (CMMA) which is affiliated to the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod.
The CMMA decision decreed that Yacoub al-Maqari has been defrocked from both the priesthood and monkhood, stripped of his monastic name, and should go back to his lay name: Shenouda Wahba.
The reasons given were that he founded a so-called monastery which he named the “Monastery of the Holy Virgin and Anba Karass”, but which was never assigned by the Coptic Church, nor was it ever recognised by the Church.
He used fake papers to establish it and, through four years, refused to listen to any advice or guidance by bishops delegated by Pope Tawadros to talk to him. These included Anba Bishoi, Metropolitan of Dumiat (Damietta) and Kafr al-Sheikh; Anba Sarapamoun, Abbot of Anba Bishoi Monastery; Anba Matta’oss, Abbot of al-Suryan Monastery; Anba Danial, Bishop of Maadi and Secretary-General of the Hoمy Synod; Anba Macarius, Bishop of Minya; and the late Anba Epiphanius, Abbot of St Macarius’s.
The Church annouced that it does not recognise any of the defrocked monk’s deeds, or any subsequent actions to these deeds. Neither, it said, was it is responsible for any young ‘monks’ who might have taken orders at his hands. The decision also warned against trips or visits to the so-called monastery he had established, and against any offering in money or in kind to any project he handles.
In retaliation, the defrocked monk announced his rejection of the CMMA decision of his defrocking, and challenged it by insisting on acting as abbot of the alleged ‘monastery’ he had illegally founded under the name of the Holy Virgin and Anba Karass. He donned clerical vestments similar to those of bishops and ordained 10 priests and monks who took orders at his hands. His deed caused an eruption of Coptic anger on social media where the majority of bloggers rejected his flagrant disobedience and challenge of the Church’s authority.
The CMMA has been stepping up its efforts to discipline monastery life since the murder of Anba Epiphanius, late Abbot of St Macarius’s, on 29 July 2018.
Watani has reported extensively on the matter:
5 September 2018