The recent meeting by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church was headed by its secretary-general Anba Raphael and marked one year of the papacy of Pope Tawadros II
Several resolutions were passed, among them a new code regulating the work and responsibilities of parish bishops. This was the most recent of several resolutions passed during the past year, mainly to regulate and place basic guides to the major activities of the Church and clergy.
The resolutions concerned Coptic monasticism and monastery life; the work and service of priests; the foundation and responsibilities of church lay councils; and the recent regulations concerning bishops.
Several monasteries were officially recognised. These are the Monastery of Anba Matta al-Fakhoury in Esna south of Luxor; the Convent of the Holy Virgin in Mallawi, Minya; and the Monastery of Saint Mark and St Samuel the Confessor in South Africa.
The Holy Synod founded subcommittees tasked with nurturing and offering adequate services for gifted young men and women; furthering Islamic-Christian relations as part of the Synod’s work in its public relations committee; and looking into the beatification of figures nominated for sainthood. The committee in charge of serving the poor had its name changed to include the care of homes and orphanages.
Two new commissions were formed; one to set the standards of an Orthodox approach in service and education, and another to investigate the issue the monastery at Wadi al-Rayan in Fayoum.
It was also decided to accredit prayers to be said during the fast and feasts of the Virgin Mary.
Recommendations were issued for the various dioceses to establish more guesthouses for the benefit of the congregation; to set up rehabilitation centres for female addicts; and to hand in to the Synod data on nominations of men and women to work as teachers of Christian Religion with the Ministry of Education. The Ministry had asked the Church to help solve the problem of the shortage in such teachers.
The Synod also recommended that graduates of the Clerical Seminary should be appointed to service in their home parishes in the capacity that best suits their expertise. They should undergo a full medical examination, and should be assured of a decent living.
24 November 2013