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An Open Letter to the Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria

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(while an online petition site is used for convenience in gathering signatures, this is not a petition. It is an open letter in love. All Oriental Orthodox in Canada are invited to sign. Please do not sign twice. If you have signed a paper copy, please do not sign online).

Your Eminence Anba Pachomious,
Locum Tenens of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan of Beheira, Matrouh, and Pentapolis,

After kissing your hand and seeking your apostolic blessings, we offer our condolences for the repose of our blessed father, the Beatific Pope Shenouda the Third of Blessed Memory. We ask the Lord to grant us His mercy through His Holiness’ prayers.

We, the Christ-loving Coptic Orthodox people of Canada, would like to express our voice as a diocese in these historic times. We feel that it is necessary to send this formally, so that the voice of this region in our Great See be heard during deliberations by the Nomination Committee and all those who are voting.

Firstly, we would like to express our consensus with the statement made by the Diocese of Los Angeles and Southern California1. The canons are explicitly clear a bishop with a diocese who accepts or moves to another has committed spiritual adultery. We object to any nominee whose canonicity would be held in question, and for whom the holy fathers have sentenced with excommunication. History has shown us that God has withdrawn His grace from those who strayed from the canons or sought promotion2.

Secondly, we would like to express our ardent desire that our new patriarch be selected from among the monks. We recognise that though the canons did not specifically mention the election of a general bishop, the spirit of the canons has always been clear: a monastic candidate is the most ideal for the throne of Saint Mark. Our history, the canons of the Universal Church, and the traditions that we have received have taught us that a Bishop – diocesan or general – is a visible icon of the Lord Christ who stands in the midst of His Church. There cannot be, therefore, a Bishop without a flock, or a head with no body. We feel that the selection of monks who have shown no ambition for the throne would be most consistent with the history of our blessed fathers and illustrious men who have been graced by the throne until this day. As there is no shortage of monks on the list of those nominated to the throne, there is clearly no reason for any Bishop to request or be compelled to leave his current responsibilities or geography tending Christ's flock, to take a more esteemed eparchy.

We ask of your paternity to present this letter to the Nomination Committee, trusting in the Lord’s grace that He will choose for Himself a shepherd after His own heart.  

Seeking your prayers, absolution, and blessings,

Your Coptic Orthodox children in Canada


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