Coptic Orthodox Church Synod Rejects Same-Sex Relations, Suspends Dialogue with Catholics

Coptic Orthodox Church Synod Rejects Same-Sex Relations, Suspends Dialogue with Catholics

Gerges Mounir Hanna – OCP News Service – 07/03/2024

Cairo – Egypt: The plenary session of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church was held on March 07.2024, at the Logos Center at the Papal Residence in the Monastery of Saint Anba Bishoy in Wadi Natroun, headed by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and attended by 110 of its 133 members.

His Holiness the Pope delivered a speech at the opening of the session, in which he spoke about the importance of fruit in the life and service of the shepherd through “the parable of the unfruitful fig tree” (Luke 13:6-9).

The main committees of the Holy Synod held their annual meetings starting last Monday and for three days, at the papal headquarters in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasiya, to discuss the reports submitted to them by their subcommittees.  It issued its recommendations, which were presented to the members of the Academy in today’s plenary session for approval.

The Church announced its opinion on the issue of “homosexuality” through a statement issued by the Holy Synod (to be published later). In its statement, the church emphasized its rejection of same-sex relations.  Supporting her opinion with many biblical verses that clearly declare the rejection of such relationships that are contrary to the human nature that God created.

The text of the decisions and recommendations of the Holy Synod – March 2024 session was as follows:

First: decisions

1- Restoring the monastic life of the Monastery of Saint Prince Tadros Al-Shattabi (for monks) – Manfalut.

2- Restoring the monastic life of the Monastery of Prince Tawadros of the Levant, the Warrior (for nuns) – in Luxor.

3- Recognition of the Monastery of St. Paul the Apostle (for monks) – in California.

4- Recognition of the Monastery of Saint Tadros and Saint Moses the Black (for monks) – Ismailia Road.

5- Recognition of the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Michael (for monks) in Bahansa.

6- After consultation with the sister churches of the Eastern Orthodox family, it was decided to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, re-evaluate the results that the dialogue has achieved since its beginning twenty years ago, and establish new standards and mechanisms for the dialogue to proceed.

7- Establishing the General Technical Office in the Patriarchate, with the establishment of branches in the dioceses to communicate with various government agencies and finalize procedures related to churches.

 8- Establishing an office bearing the name HIGH, which is the abbreviation for the slogan Hands in God’s Hand, which is specialized in communicating between the members of the Coptic Church abroad and the areas in need of service at home.

9- Establishing the General Secretariat of Coptic Hospitals in Cairo, similar to the General Secretariat of Coptic Hospitals in Alexandria.

Second: The most important recommendations:

1- Developing topics that encourage the consolidation of the spirit of citizenship and the positive role in society within church education curricula.

2- Each church should have its own page on one of the social media channels, on which all church activities and a special archive of masses, sermons, and spiritual revivals in the church are posted.

3- The Coptic Orthodox Church affirms its firm position of rejecting all forms of homosexual relationships, because they violate the Holy Bible and the law by which God created man male and female, and it considers that any blessing, whatever its type, for such relationships is a blessing for sin, and this is unacceptable.

4- Raising awareness of the danger of consanguineous marriage and the resulting disorders and disabilities in subsequent generations.

5- Activating the work of the development and social care offices in the dioceses and coordinating between them and the Development Partners Committee of the Coptic Orthodox Church through the bishopric of public and social services.

6- The need to pay attention to transforming families dependent on charity into productive, income-earning families, to ensure the education of their children, to benefit from the “Daughter of the King” project, and to provide them with a blessing bag that takes into account proper nutrition.

7- The need to add mental health topics to courses for those about to get married, as well as to service preparation meetings and youth meetings.

8- Establish family reconciliation committees before resorting to the seminary, consisting of: a priest, a legal advisor, a psychiatrist, and a women’s member.

9- Add a drug test to the tests required before engagement.

10- The importance of documenting marriage contracts with the ritual prayers for the wreath in the church.

11- Paying attention to teachers of Christian religious education in schools, conducting training courses for them, following them up spiritually, and arranging periodic meetings for them through a responsible priest in each diocese.

12- Collecting all books that have been translated from the Coptic heritage into other languages and new book releases for each diocese abroad in one site in order to share the benefit and avoid duplication of translation.

13- The Coptic Orthodox Church prays for the unity of the sister Orthodox Church in Ethiopia, and for peace and love to prevail among all.

Source: Coptic Orthodox Church

OCP News Service

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