Ten Coptic monks have been consecrated as bishops at the hands of Pope Tawadros II, who presided over their consecration at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital some 50km east of Cairo.
The consecration rite began during Vespers service on 4 June 2022, and was completed during Mass the following day, 5 June; it was attended by 98 metropolitans and bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church, in addition to numerous clergy and the monks of two monasteries that were getting new abbots from among the newly consecrated bishops.
At the end of Vespers service, the consecration ritual started with a procession of the ten bishops-elect in the nave, for the congregation to see them all. Next came their taking the bishops pledge, and blessing the episcopal vestments. Finally, Pope Tawadros called each of the bishops elect in the new name and title given to them.
The ten new bishops include two who would be abbots of two Coptic monasteries, four diocesan bishops, and four general bishops. Pope Tawadros gave a brief bio for each of the bishops-elect.
Father Arsanius al-Bakhoumi who was for 37 years a monk at Anba Pachomius Monastery in Edfu, Aswan, when Anba Hedra (1963 – 2021) was Bishop of Aswan and Abbot of Anba Pachomius’s, was elected and consecrated as Bishop Arsenius, Bishop and Abbot for the monastery of Anba Pachomius in Edfu, Aswan.
Fr Dioscorus al-Baramosy was for 29 years a monk at al-Baramous Monastery in Wadi al-Natroun in the Western Desert, and had served for six years as spiritual supervisor for Clerical College students, was consecrated as Bishop Dioscorus, Bishop and Abbot for the Monastery of Anba Yihnis Al-Qaseer (St John the Short), off Alamein Road in the Western Desert.
Fr Isidorus Anba Bishoy originally comes from Assiut and has been a monk for 30 years. He will serve the far south Diocese of Aswan as Bishop Bishoy, a name he himself chose to take.
Fr Yacoub al-Antony, with 34 years behind him as a monk, originally comes from Mehalla in the mid-Delta, and will serve as Bishop Anianos (the first patriarch of Alexandria following St Mark) in the Diocese of Beni Mazar and Bahnasa in Minya, Lower Egypt.
Fr Philopateer al-Sina’i from the monastery of Moses the Prophet in Sinai, has been a monk for 15 years and has been consecrated as Bishop Nopher for the Diocese of Shebin al-Qanater in Qalyubia, 20km northeast Cairo.
Fr Bisenti (Psanti) Anba Bishoy from Luxor has been a monk for 34 years and has served brilliantly in the Coptic Church in Doha, Qatar, for 22 years, is now Bishop Bisenti of the Diocese of Abnob and al-Fateh in Assiut, Upper Egypt.
Fr Epiphanius al-Muharraqi is originally from Menoufiya in the Delta but has been a monk at Muharraq Monastery in Assiut for 30 years. He has been consecrated as Bishop Ighnatius—a name he chose—Bishop-General for the Diocese of Mahalla in Gharbiya in the mid-Delta.
Fr Thomas al-Tomasi originally comes from Sohag and has been a monk at Anba Thomas’s for 25 years. He has been consecrated as Bishop Thomas, Bishop-General to assist Bishop Sawiris in service at Mar-Boctor (St Victor) Monastery, al-Khatatba, in the Western Desert, and Anba Thomas Monastery in Khatatba and in Sohag, Upper Egypt.
Fr Archilidis al-Antony is from Alexandria and has been a monk for 22 years, has been consecrated as Bishop Archilidis, Bishop-General for the Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada. There are already has two Coptic dioceses in Canada: one in the west with Bishop Mina in charge, and one in the east served by Bishop Boulos. Bishop Archilides will serve Toronto which lies in between both.
Fr Gabrail Anba Pola, who comes from Heliopolis, Cairo, but spent most his life in the US where he got a medical degree then came back to Egypt to take orders at Anba Pola Monastery for 11 years, has been consecrated as Bishop Gabriel, Bishop-General for the Archdiocese of New Jersey, North America.
The consecration rite was completed the following morning during Mass. Once the Praxis was read and the Ascension ceremonial procession took place around the altar, the bishops-elect entered the church in a procession led by deacons and flanked by current bishops left and right, as the deacon choir chanted ceremonial hymns. The congregation cheered and ululated in joy.
Pope Tawadros gave a brief explanation of the consecration ritual about to take place, then said Thanksgiving prayer and proceeded with the consecration rite.
The metropolitans and current bishops laid their hands on the newly consecrated bishops as the Apostolic rite mentioned in the Bible, then Pope Tawadros began to call each new bishop by name and title, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Mass proceeded and the Bible was read, following which the Pope gave a sermon. He had a special message for each new bishop, and gave them three pieces of advice. The first was to focus on the pastoral role first and foremost. The second was to give priority to projects that provide significant service to all, such as schools, in order to benefit the community as a whole and promote social peace. The third was to always remember that every Coptic diocese is part of the See of St Mark, and should never be allowed to drift apart from the body of the Coptic Church, which is the Body of Christ.
The ten new bishops bring the number of the members of the Holy Synod up to 138, including Pope Tawadros who heads the Synod, and his two deputies in Cairo and Alexandria.
The Bishops Pledge
This is the pledge the bishops took:
I, the feeble [name], who has been called by the grace of the Lord to the episcopate…
I pledge before the Lord of lords, Shepherd of shepherds, the invisible Head of the Church…
In front of His holy altar, and before His Holiness the Patriarch and my fathers and brothers the metropolitans and bishops and other members of the Holy Synod; the clergy and congregation…
To remain steadfast in the Orthodox faith until my last breath, and to observe the holy Church canons set by the holy Apostles and the ecumenical councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), and Ephesus (431)…
To preserve as well as the canons approved by the regional councils and the holy fathers of the church…
To safeguard the rites, doctrines, and traditions of the Coptic Orthodox Church…
To evangelise the Gospel to my best ability, to do my utmost to teach the congregation the upright faith and life of righteousness, and to work to be myself a good model in every good deed…
To love my parishioners and to treat them all with gentleness and wisdom, with justice and without bias or favouritism, not condemning anyone in anger on hearsay, but affording them an opportunity to defend themselves…
To continue to lead an ascetic life, never treating Church assets as my own…
To submit to the supreme authority of the Church, vested in His Holiness, the Pope and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and in the Holy Synod…
I ask the Lord to give me power through your prayers to undertake this grave responsibility, and diligently care for the congregation whose blood the Lord shall demand of my hands…
Pray for me my saintly fathers and brothers.
5 June 2022