The Next Coptic Pope (continued)9.51011

The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church faces some difficult decisions as it guides the Church through this transitional period.

The list of seventeen candidates for the upcoming papal election has been released. These will be whittled down to about seven candidates, which a large college of voters will then vote on to produce the final three candidates whose names will go into the box on the altar. The candidates at present are:

Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta

Anba Youannes

Anba Rophael

Anba Bevnotious of Samalout

Anba Boutros

Anba Tawadros of El-Bahaira

Anba Kirollos of Milan

Abouna Rafael Avva Mina

Abouna Maximos El-Antony

Abouna Shenouda Avva Bishoy

Abouna Pakhomous El-Souriani

Abouna Daniel El-Souriani

Abouna Anastasi El-Samuely

Abouna Bishoy Avva Paula

Abouna Sawaries Avva Paula

Abouna Seraphim El-Souriani

Abouna Pigol Avva Bishoy

In response, HG Bishop Serapion and the clergy of the Diocese of Los Angeles have issued a strongly worded rejection of allowing diocesan bishops to stand for the papacy. Their reasons are basically that it is a) against the canons of the Church, and b) the only three times we have had Coptic Popes who were diocesan bishops, all in the twentieth century, their tenure was plagued with serious troubles. The full text is worth reading – you can find it here.

If you are wondering where I stand on the issue, I would happily sign Bishop Serapion’s statement, and hope that our clergy and congregation here in Sydney who hold the same view will also make their voices heard. This has absolutely nothing to do with who the actual candidates are, but everything to do with preserving a rare and uniquely effective tradition that has protected our Church from the ravages of personal ambition for most of the past two thousand years.

In the end, we pray for God to choose for us a good shepherd after His own heart, but we must also do our bit and speak up for all that is noble and good in our ancient tradition.

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