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Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:52 PM

Pope approves new Coptic Catholic Patriarch for Egypt

2013-01-19 12:38:49

Vatican Radio) On Saturday Pope Benedict XVI sent a personal letter to the newly elected Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, “joyfully” granting him full ecclesial communion.

With this letter the Holy Father formally confirms the election of the 62 year-old former bishop of Minya by the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Coptic Church, which took place January 15th.

The 11 bishops of this Eastern Catholic Church based in Egypt had gathered last week in Cairo to elect a successor to Patriarch Antonios Naguib. Seventy seven-year-old Antonios Naguib became Patriarch in the spring of 2006 and in November 2010, Benedict XVI created him cardinal. He was also General Relator at the Synod of Bishops for the Churches of the Middle East. In December 2011, Patriarch Naguib suffered an intracranial haemorrhage.

His Successor Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak was born on 19 August 1955 in Beni-Chokeir, Asyut Governorate. He studied Philosphy and Theology on the St. Leo’s Patriarchal Seminary in Maadi (a suburb of Cairo) and was ordained a priest in 1980. For the following two years he served in the Parish of Archangel Michael in Cairo. Being sent to Rome to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University he received his doctorate in dogmatic theology. Between 1990 and 2001 he was the rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Maadi. In October 2002 he was elected Bishop of Minya.

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/01/19/pope_approves_new_coptic_catholic_patriarch_for_egypt/en1-657149

He's going to have his hands full.

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Reply Pope approves new Coptic Catholic Patriarch for Egypt (Original post)
rug Jan 2013 OP
47of74 Jan 2013 #1
rug Jan 2013 #2
tjwmason Jan 2013 #4
Fortinbras Armstrong Jan 2013 #3

Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 08:43 PM

1. That got me reading a bit on the Coptic Orthodox Pope

In particular the section on the election of the Coptic Pope;

Until 1928 Patriarchal elections were carried out according to oral and written Church tradition. The Patriarchal election of 1928 was the first in modern history to invoke written bylaws. The elections of 1928, 1942 and 1946 inspired controversy by pitting relatively young monks versus older, more experienced bishops. Supporters of each group argued that the other should be disqualified: the advocates of the younger monks claimed that the bishops were wedded to their dioceses for life and that their election to the patriarchate would lead to an unnatural divorce of bishop and diocese, while the bishops' partisans countered that a bishop might continue to provide diocesan pastoral care from the apostolic throne, while observing that the pastoral experience of the more seasoned bishops would be indispensable to the patriarchate of the entire church; they further noted that the patriarchs of every other apostolic church, such as those of the Greek, Russian and Catholic churches, were nearly always Bishops or Abbots prior to election. This controversy ultimately led to the development of a new set of bylaws in 1957. These state that a candidate for election to the Apostolic Throne of Alexandria must be a man of at least 40 years of age. He must be a monk with at least 15 years of monastic service, but he may be of any ecclesiastical rank: monk, Hieromonk (Monk Priest or Monk Archpriest), Abbot, or bishop, in that Coptic bishops are always drawn from the ranks of monks.

A potential candidate who meets the requirements of the bylaws must be endorsed by six bishops or twelve of the 24 members of the General Lay Council of the Church, a church governing body composed primarily of laypeople elected by the congregation to five year terms. A Nominations Committee is then formed by nine bishops appointed by the Holy Synod and nine laypersons elected by the General Community Council. The Nominations Committee, chaired by the locum tenens patriarch, narrows the field of candidates to a group of five or seven. Each diocese then contributes twelve electors to an Electoral College; their numbers are augmented by the members of The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the General Community Council, Coptic Orthodox political leaders and journalists and envoys of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The voting of the Electoral College results in a ranking of the remaining five or seven candidates, and the three highest-ranked candidates advance to the final stage of the selection process.

The election culminates in a drawing of lots. The name of each of the final three candidates is written on a separate piece of paper and the three pieces of paper are then placed in a box on the altar of St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo during a Sunday eucharistic liturgy. The Locum tenens of the throne presides over this liturgy and all members of the Holy Synod, General Congregation Council and the laity attend. A five year-old child selected from the congregation then draws the name of the next Patriarch from the box.

This process led in 1959 to the selection of Pope Cyril VI and in 1971 to the selection of Pope Shenouda III.


I wonder if the Coptic church has something to teach the Roman church here in that the laity has some voice over the selection of their leader. Also leaving the ultimate selection up to chance...

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Response to 47of74 (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 12:09 AM

2. Fascinating.

I didn't know he had to be a monk for 15 years.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:50 AM

4. The usual practice of the Eastern Orthodox

Not sure whether this is exactly mirrored in the Oriental Orthodox (which include the Copts) is that when a man reaches the point of Ordination, if he isn't married then he takes monastic vows.

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Response to 47of74 (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:25 AM

3. It used to be true that the laity had a significant voice in choosing bishops

See, for example, how Ambrose became bishop of Milan.

Problems arose when kings, dukes and the like became the ones choosing who should be bishops. The nadir of this came about when the Popes were in Avignon, so that they could be under the thumb of the French king.

Having the Pope name bishops was generally seen as a reform.

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