Holy Synod decides on the election of a new pope

27-03-2012 07:48 PM

Nader Shukry


In its meeting today at the papal headquarters at St Mark##s cathedral in Cairo, which lasted for some six hours, the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church decided upon the measures to be taken towards electing a new pope after Pope Shenouda III passed away on 17 March. The meeting was attended by the members of the Melli (Community) Council and the Coptic Endowments Authority

In its meeting today at the papal headquarters at St Mark##s cathedral in Cairo, which lasted for some six hours, the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church decided upon the measures to be taken towards electing a new pope after Pope Shenouda III passed away on 17 March. The meeting was attended by the members of the Melli (Community) Council and the Coptic Endowments Authority.
Once the meeting was over, Anba Serapion of Los Angeles announced the decisions taken during the meeting. 
There was consensus, Anba Serapion said, that no changes should made to the 1957 legal code for electing the patriarch; it should act as the basis for electing the new pope.
The Holy Synod elected the 18-member committee that is to supervise the papal elections. The committee includes nine members of the clergy and nine laypersons. The clergy elected are: Anba Pachomeus of Beheira as head; and as members Anba Hedra of Aswan, Anba Benyamin of Menoufiya, Anba Pola of Tanta, Anba Abra##am of Fayoum, Anba Serapion of Los Angeles, Bishop-General of Maadi Anba Danial, abbot of St Anthony##s Anba Yustus, abbot of Baramos Anba Isithirus, and abbot of St Mina##s Anba Kyrillos. The laypersons are: Judges Nabil Mirhom, Edward Ghalib, Malak Mina, and Munsif Suleiman, as well as Georgette Qellini, Kamal Shawqy, Rasmy Abdel-Malak, Wagdy Louis, and Kamel Magdy Saleh.
According to Anba Serapion, the committee should start work tomorrow. It should prepare and vet the preliminary list of candidates, so that their formal candidacy should be announced following the arbaeen (forty days after the death of a person) of Pope Shenouda, which coincides with 25 April. 
The Holy Synod decided that Bishops of dioceses are eligible for nomination but, if one of them is elected pope a new bishop is only placed at the head of the diocese after the pope dies. 
Another committee will be formed during the coming few days to handle the registration of voters. These will include voters in parishes added later than 1957, the date the legal code for electing the patriarch was established, such as those outside Egypt, mainly in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Voters who are members of churches which do not fall within the boundaries of established parishes will be taken into consideration, Anba Serapion said.
All said, the process of electing a new pope is expected to take no less than five months, Anba Serapion explained.
WATANI International
27 March 2012
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