Earlier this day, Anba Moussa, the Bishop of Youth, agreed to accept nomination for the post of patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a post which has been vacant since the
Earlier this day, Anba Moussa, the Bishop of Youth, agreed to accept nomination for the post of patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a post which has been vacant since the death of Pope Shenouda III last March. In doing so, Anba Moussa finally gave in to pleas and pressure by Coptic clergy and members of the congregation, especially youth,to accept nomination. Anba Moussa, 74, is widely loved and venerated by Copts for his serenity, wisdom and great knowledge. He is known to have been Pope Shenouda III’s student and loyal successor. He was originally against the idea of contending the papal elections, due to his old age and poor health. But since doctors confirmed that he suffers from no particular health problem that would prevent him from assuming the responsibilities of pope, Coptic youth took to pushing Anba Moussa and pleading with him to accept nomination.
In a press conference held yesterday to inform of the decisions taken by the Holy Synod and the Melli (Community) Council during a joint meeting, the spokesman for the meeting, Anba Benyamin, announced that the number of nominees for the papal seat has risen to eight bishops and 10 monks. Anba Moussa##s nomination brings the figure to nine bishops. Anba Binyamin said that the door will be closed for nominations on Saturday 19 May, with a grace period of one week that will end on 26 May for all the nominees to complete their papers. Anba Binyamin explained that the papal elections committee will convene on 29 May to check the final list of accepted candidates, and that the Holy Synod will the following day, 30 May, announce their names and the measures according to which these candidates will be vetted and a short list of only seven listed for voting. The electorate should vote for three of the seven finalists, then a draw is conducted on the altar during Holy Mass to pick the new pope.
The Holy Synod agreed to extend the period for voter registration till 30 June.
Anba Binyamin revealed nothing regarding the several statements presented to the Holy Synod, which all advised against the nomination of diocesan bishops for the post of patriarch, branding such a move as non-canonical. It is not known whether or not these statements might be taken into consideration during the short-listing of the nominees.
Anba Binyamin called on the media toexercise accuracy while reporting on the papal elections and to refrain from publishing material intended to smear any of the contenders.