The five names shortlisted to contend the elections for the post of the patriarch of the Coptic Church have been met with widespread approval by mainstream Copts
The five names shortlisted to contend the elections for the post of the patriarch of the Coptic Church have been met with widespread approval by mainstream Copts.
The five nominees: Bishop General of Beheira Anba Tawodros, and Bishop General of Downtown Cairo Anba Raphail; as well as three monks: Fr Raphael AvaMina, Fr Seraphim al-Suriani and Fr Pachomeus al-Suriani; are currently in a meeting with acting patriarch Anba Pachomeus at the Anba Bishoi monastery in the Western Desert.
Coptic leading figures expressed their happiness with the nominations. The lawyer Ramsis al-Naggar who frequently represents the Church; Kameel Seddiq, member of the Alexandria Coptic Orthodox Melli (Community) Council; Samir Zaky of the Youth Bishopric; and the lawyer and rights activist Kamal Zakher, all agreed that the choice of finalists was auspicious in that it took the Church away from potential infighting. Now that the bishops Anba Bishoi of Dumyat (Damietta); Anba Yu’annis, Pope Shenouda’s secretary; and Anba Pavnotius of Samalout are out of the race, a struggle for the papal seat has been aborted, Dr Seddiq told Watani. News had been circulated among the Copts and in the Egyptian media that these bishops had been in conflict, each coveting the post for himself.
Mr Naggar and Mr Zaky joined Dr Seddiq in expressing happiness that the final nominees included no parochial bishops—only bishops-general. The nomination of parochial bishops had been a point of contention among Copts, with many demanding that the 1957 Bylaws for electing the Coptic Orhodox patriarch should be changed to ban the running of parochial bishops for the post of patriarch. But the Holy Synod of the Coptic Church decided to leave the task of changing the 1957 Bylaws to the new pope, in order to avoid potential conflict on that head at this crucial time in Egypt’s history, and with the Church without a divinely-chosen leader.
Coptic youth movements, including Maspero Youth Union, Copts Without Restrictions, Copts for Egypt, and the Coalition of Egypt’s Copts also applauded the final nominations. They expressed their strong endorsement of the final nominees, describing them as men of spirituality and moral strength, who would surely be able to lead the Church during the difficult times Egypt is going through. They thanked Anba Pachomeus and the members of the nomination committee for taking into consideration in their choice of final nominees the general opinion of mainstream Copts or, as put so aptly by Anba Pachomeus: “the pulse of the Coptic street”.
The nomination committee included as members nine bishops and nine laymen from among the members of the General Melli Council and the Authority of Coptic Endowments. Anba Pachomeus headed the committee.
13 October 2012
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