Arrangements for the papal elections

16-10-2012 11:37 PM

Nader Shukry


The Coptic electoral college charged with electing three out of the five candidates contending the papal elections will cast their ballots on 29 October, as announced by Anba Pola, Bishop of Tanta and spokesman for the papal elections nomination committee during a press conference today at the St Mark’s Cathedral in Abbassiya. He said that a three-day first-degree fast will precede the elections

The Coptic electoral college charged with electing three out of the five candidates contending the papal elections will cast their ballots on 29 October, as announced by Anba Pola, Bishop of Tanta and spokesman for the papal elections nomination committee during a press conference today at the St Mark’s Cathedral in Abbassiya. He said that a three-day first-degree fast will precede the elections. 
Following another three-day first-degree fast, Anba Pola said, the names of the three finalists will be placed on the altar during Holy Mass on 4 November, and a draw will determine who among them will be the 118th patriarch of the See of St Mark.
Know your future pope
Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Anba Pola said, a campaign to familiarise the Coptic congregation with the five candidates will begin. 
At 9.00am the five candidates will celebrate Holy Mass at Anba Bishoi’s, and Anba Tawodros will deliver the sermon. At 1.00pm Anba Pola will give a resumé of the five candidates to the Coptic congregation. The Church satellite channels will air Anba Pola’s introduction of the contenders, which is not done for the sake of electoral campaigning, he stressed, since the post of pope is one of service not open to competition.
On Friday, the five candidates will celebrate Holy Mass at St Mark’s cathedral in Alexandria, where Fr Seraphim al-Suriani will deliver the sermon. On Saturday, the three monks among the contenders will celebrate Holy Mass in al-Surian Monastery in Wadi al-Natroun, and on Sunday all five candidates will celebrate Holy Mass at the Holy Virgin’s church in Maadi. On Monday, the first day of the three-day fast, the candidates for the papal seat will celebrate Holy Mass at the St Mark’s cathedral in Claude Bey, Downtown, where Fr Raphael AvaMina will deliver the sermon.
On Tuesday the Holy Mass will be at the Beheira Bishopric and the sermon delivered by Anba Raphael, and on Wednesday at the Mar Mina Monastery, with the sermon delivered by Fr Pachomeus al-Suriani.
Pledge to change the bylaws
he papal elections nomination committee, Anba Pola said, will meet next Thursday to announce the names of those who will supervise the election process and to agree on the balloting technicalities of the Copts in the Diaspora, especially since the election date has been advanced by nearly a month over the date originally estimated.
Anba Pola pointed out that those who are eligible to vote will be allowed to select no more than three candidates from the list of five, by crossing out the names of the candidates they wished to leave out. He explained that in case two candidates score the same votes, the supervisory committee, headed by Anba Pachomeus is entitled to favour one for the altar draw. 
The election results, Anba Pola said, will be announced by a communiqué signed by the members of the supervisory committee and a representative of the Ministry of interior.
Anba Pola revealed that all the candidates have signed pledges to start amending the papal elections bylaws as soon as any of them wins, and to finish this process during a period of one year since the enthronement. The new bylaws will include an ecclesiastical aspect for which the new pope and the Holy Synod are responsible, and a legal aspect that has to await the enactment of the relevant law by the authorities.
The date of the enthronement ceremony will be set by the new pope, according to Anba Pola. He pointed out, however, that it was not preferable to schedule the ceremony during Advent, it will be a large celebration to which the heads of churches over the world, and global leading figures will be invited.
Watani International
16 October 2012
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