Egypt's new Coptic pope

I saw this news story the other day:

Egypt’s Coptic Christians pick new pope

As far as I know, the Coptic Church is not in communion with Rome. Just felt a little weird that they also have a pope. The way they pick the pope is also kind of interesting, with a blindfolded boy picking a name out of three in a chalice. Almost reminds me of how Tibetans pick the next Dali Lama, by drawing a name out of an urn.

I really feel for the Coptic Christians, though, because they’re being persecuted in their own country, and they have to endure violence from the Muslim majority. So it was good to see their faith being carried on, in spite of all that’s happening in their country and the region.

What are your thoughts on this?

St. Matthias was chosen by a draw of lots. I would say this is Biblical.

“Pope” is an archaic Latin? word meaning “papa.” As the patriarch of the Coptic Church is the “father” of the Copts, he has just as much right to the title of “Father” (ie “Papa” ie “Pope”) as the Patriarch of Rome does.

He also has used the title “Pope” longer than the Pope of Rome.

The Catholic Church has many rites, yet one faith that traces itself back to Jesus Christ, the apostles and their successors, the bishops. Their Catholic identity is found in their union to the successor of St. Peter, the pope, in proclaiming the one true faith—in diverse cultural expressions–of Jesus Christ. Whether one is a member of the Roman, the Mozarabic, the Ambrosian, the Byzantine, the Chaldean, the Syro-Malabarese, the Alexandrian, the Coptic, the Abyssinian, the Antiochene, the Malankarese, the Maronite, or the Armenian rite, one is a member of the one Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ through his apostles.

During the early church when the Orthodox (eastern and oriental) and Catholic church were still one church.Each leader of the 5 ancient sees had a title Constonople,Antioch,Jeruselum all beared the title patariach alone.However the Roman church used bishop of rome and the Alexandrian (coptic) used patarich and pope in conjuction,however this title was not used to assist authority over all the churches anyhow near 1054 AD the bishop of rome began to use the title pope as he belived that he has authority over the eastern and western churches,the patriach of Alexandria still uses the title pope and patraich.

The leader of the Catholic church is the succesor of st.peter and the leader of the Coptic orthodox church is the succeser of st.mark.and since the orthodox church (eastern and oriental) do not believe St.Peter had authority over the other apostles they do not belive he has authority over the other apsotolic churches which are the orthodox churches

Well, the Coptic Pope left the communion half a millennium before 1054.

Some Coptic Christians are in communion with Rome, and some are not. There are two Coptic Churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Coptic Catholic Church… needless to explain which one is in communion with Rome. :slight_smile:

Well, most are not in communion with Rome. The Coptic Catholic Church is a small Church. Also the Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria is not referred to as the Pope.

It should be noted that the syriac Patriarch of Antioch was the main celebrant of the coptic pope’s ordination.

The reason said was Antioch is the apostle peter’s see. MArk is the disciple of Peter. Marc was the first bishop of alexandria. So the ordination will be valid only if Peter’s successor at Antioch is present during the ceremony and he should lay his hands on the new coptic pope.

Are there currently any ecumenical efforts to bring the Eastern churches back into communion with Rome? Also, do the Coptic Christians have any connection to the Dead Sea Scrolls?

There was a joint declaration of a common Christology a few years back. Other than that, there is not much progress in such a reunion. The Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox are closer to union than the Oriental Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church is, but they are deadlocked on the acceptance of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. Since the Roman Catholic Church is a Chalcedonian Church (a Church who accepted the council), the same issue will arise. Plus also I doubt if the Coptic Church or any of the Oriental Orthodox will accept Papal Supremacy and Infallibility.

None. They were Gnostic Gospels. Alexandria was the center of knowledge in the Roman Empire during the early days of the Church. When Gnosticism was condemned and their literature gotten rid of because of heresy, it is possible that someone in Alexandria took the scrolls to where it was found in the last century. The Great Library was in Alexandria.

It’s originally from Greek, though the Latin word that is derived from it is the same.

The title “Pope” was first used in reference to HH Pope St. Heraclas of Alexandria, the thirteenth occupant of the See of St Mark, in the third century. Interestingly enough, this came in a letter from the then-current Bishop of Rome, Dionysius. By contrast, “Pope” was not used as a title in reference to the Bishop of Rome specifically until the 11th century.

The leader of the Catholic church is the succesor of st.peter and the leader of the Coptic orthodox church is the succeser of st.mark.and since the orthodox church (eastern and oriental) do not believe St.Peter had authority over the other apostles they do not belive he has authority over the other apsotolic churches which are the orthodox churches

It is important to note, however, that we do commemorate Sts. Peter and Paul as the chief apostles (these are traditionally paired together in our hymnology, as they ministered together; see, for instance this fraction prayer for the Apostles, or the fraction for the apostles listed here), and St. Peter especially as the teacher of St. Mark (as is recorded in the scripture), and recognize in the Syriac Orthodox Church currently headed by HH Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas an equal successor to St. Peter as in Rome, as Antioch is also a Petrine See. So it is not as though we stick to St. Mark only, although he is obviously very highly esteemed in the Egyptian Church, for obvious reasons. :slight_smile:

Relations have really soured in recent years, I’m sad to say, as a result of what can be seen as Rome’s somewhat liberal attitude toward the Nestorians and other matters (formal talks between the CoE and the Copts ended in 1996 when the Coptic synod refused to sign an agreed statement that had been hashed out in 1995 at the monastery of St. Bishoy after talks between the two had taken place there). While there are some very welcome signs of an improvement in relations, largely coming out of talks between HG Bishop Angaelos and his Roman Catholic equivalent as part of the the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Forum in the UK (you can read the press release on their latest activity here), there is a lot of history that indicates that it will be an uphill climb if we want to make real progress in ecumenical relations (and as to “reunion”, honestly, forget about it; sorry to sound negative, but it’s better not to enter any future talks with that as an immediate goal, as that will only lead to disappointment…a more realistic goal is better).

I suppose it makes no difference to an Alexandrian, but I would like to note there is a distinction (personally important for me) between CoE and ACoE. The modern ACoE is only a daughter church of the CoE, and should not be conflated with it.

Also, what do think of this post? Is this actually true?

Apologies if I have caused some offense by this. You’re right that it makes no difference to me, but I referred to the CoE specifically because I extracted that particular fact from Wilhelm Baum & Dietmar W. Winkler’s “The Church of the East: A Concise History” (Routledge, 2003), which, as the name implies, uses that terminology.

Also, what do think of this post? Is this actually true?

I’m not really sure what it means, honestly. I haven’t watched the full ceremony (it’s over 7 hours:, but from the bits I have watched it seems like HE Metropolitan Pakhomious played a very big role (which makes sense, as HE was the locum tenens between HH Pope Shenouda III and the election of the new Pope), but certainly also HH Mor Igantius Zakka I Iwas also played some role, so I’m not sure what it means to say that there was a particular “main celebrant”. At various points in the video, the Patriarchs of the other churches all give their blessings to HH Pope Tawadros II. In fact, while the Patriarch of Antioch did not join in line with the other bishops to give their blessings to HH Pope Tawadros II (because HH Mor Ignatius Zakka is in a wheelchair), you can see that he heads the Syriac chanters at about the 3hr, 40m mark (and slightly before). I’m assuming that it is for this reason that at around 3hrs, 44 minutes, HH Pope Tawadros II goes to HH Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and embraces him. I don’t know if this is what our friend is talking about in his post, however. But it is clear from the way the ceremony is conducted that the Patriarch of Antioch has blessed HH Pope Tawadros II.

This is incorrect, these Oriental Orthodox churches are autocephalous. Neither patriarch is necessary for ordination, as this would have been unnecessarily difficult to achieve in the past. This is actually an enthronement as well, so no ordination actually occurs.The Syriac patriarch was there indeed for ecumenical reasons, as well as Armenian, Indian, and Ethopian bishops, and declared “Axios” in approval for the new Pope.

I’ve neglected to contribute to this society over the years, although I think I will this year for sure. This is in speaking of the preservation of the Egyptian church, which I am not a part of, but who I think that all Christians should try and support regardless of theological differences.

St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society
1494 S. Robertson Blvd., Suite 104
Los Angeles, CA 90035

They are also found on the web. The society in conjuction with UCLA buy old Coptic books and Coptic, Arabic and other bibles. They are trying to preserve the true religion, language and legacy of Egypt that has been nearly destroyed by the Muslims.

Does the Oriental Orthodox communion use the term autocephalous? I always associated that with Eastern Orthodoxy (Byzantine).

I don’t understand your question. The Oriental Orthodox churches are autocephalous, yes. It’s not some sort of proprietary term belonging to the EO. It’s an adjective that describes the state of a particular church. If the EO use it more or you notice it more from them it’s probably because they’re surrounded by Catholics and Protestants in America and Europe and need a quick way to explain how their governance is different/how they’re not Roman Catholics (especially to Protestants, who generally don’t know that Orthodoxy exists and so assume that everything that isn’t Protestant is Rome). Most OO churches developed in isolation from that sort of thing (the first Protestant missionaries in Egypt didn’t even come until c.1860s, when the Presbyterians showed up and were shocked to find native Egyptian Christians living there for ~1820 years), or maybe even weren’t autocephalous for most of their existence (e.g., Ethiopia), so either way this hasn’t been something that has needed to be emphasized except in a few cases where the autocephaly was or is a political issue (e.g., Eritrea, India).

I know that your churches are self-governing / administratively independent- I just didn’t realize that your communion used the term autocephalous. Easterns/Orientals jump on Latins when Latin terms are used to describe what we see as “the equivalent” in their churches…didn’t want to make the same mistake of imposing what I thought to be an Eastern term on Oriental Churches. For example, as an outsider looking in, your bishops look, feel, and act as vicars of Christ to me - but as you pointed out in an earlier thread, you disagree with the imposition of a Latin term to describe the reality in the Oriental Churches.

Ah, I see. Thank you for clarifying why you asked that. I don’t think this is one of those terms we would take issue with. I’ve seen “autocephalous”, “autonomous”, etc. used in writings by OO, and I don’t really know what else we could call ourselves if not some variation of that. The objection to “Vicar of Christ” is something different because it has Christological implications (depending on how it’s interpreted, of course). I don’t know what similar implications could be found in “autocephaly”, since the Christology of the Church is not threatened by or even related to its form of governance.

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