A letter to Pope Tawadros II on monastic reforms



Sun, 19 Aug 2018 - 10:10 GMT


Sun, 19 Aug 2018 - 10:10 GMT

FILE- Pope Tawadros II in the Bishop Epiphanius’s funeral - press photo

FILE- Pope Tawadros II in the Bishop Epiphanius’s funeral - press photo

CAIRO – 19 August 2018: Following the murderer of Head of the St. Macarius Monastery in Wadi El-Natroun, Bishop Epiphanius, a group of monks sent a letter for conducting monastic reforms to Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, Pope Tawadros II.

Bishop Epiphanius was found dead on July 29 inside the monastery and two monks (Ash’eyaa and Faltaous al-Makary) confessed killing the Bishop.

The reforms include the closure of all monasteries during all days of fasting, adding that the number of people’s visits should decrease. Only one faithful and pious monk will be in charge of accompanying the visitors, talking about the history of the monastery, giving them a spiritual sermon, and then overseeing their hospitality.

A monk will remain monk during his whole life and should not ask for priesthood degree, unless the monastery head promoted him, according to the letter of reforms.

A monk or a nun should not own any personal properties as the monastery will bear all his/her costs. He also should not ask to see his relatives at any time out of the hours of the official visits, the letter said.

Before recognizing anyone as a monk, he should undergo a three-year test; however, the monk can visit his relatives during the period of the test, the letter added.

The monks’ letter, based on a study conducted by St. Macarius Monastery and published in St. Mark’s magazine, described the current monastic system in Egypt as “bitter”.

The study showed that opening monasteries to the world and the lack of scrutiny in the recognition of monks are the main reasons behind the current crisis.

Monks should not be busy with the worldly dealings since their duty is only praying to God for forgiving the people’s sins and bad deeds, the study says, adding that most of current monks and nuns indulged with the secular people.

It has been revealed by the study that some monks have their own churches and buildings away from the monastery to meet people they want to meet without the monastery’s administration permission.

Some monks illegally take shares of any project established on the land of the monastery, the study continues, saying “We have rich monks, who own the newest cars and mobile phones. They wear branded clothes. They are increasing [the luxury] of their lives, losing their poverty, which they chose and vowed to since their first monastic day.”

The study found that some monks headed to the priestly services such as holding sacraments, wedding parties and funerals, besides taking confessions. The monks forgot the difference between priesthood and monasticism, it says.

On Friday, the Coptic Monastic Affairs Committee of the Holy Synod called on all monasteries that are not officially recognized by the Church to formally legalize their status, according to a statement issued by the committee on Friday.

The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church has given the monasteries 30 days to legalize their situation, the statement added, noting that the lands of monasteries should be registered in the name of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and should be financially and spiritually subordinate to Pope Tawadros II.

In 2013, Pope Tawadros II issued an executive regulation for Coptic monasteries’ operation in Egypt. As per the regulations, the establishment of any church or monastery should be approved by the Coptic Orthodox Church and signed by Pope Tawadros. However, a number of monasteries- since then- did not rectify their situation.

Also, the Church called on Egyptian Christians not to financially deal with the monks or nuns or engage in any projects with them. However, any dealings should be with the monasteries’ heads.

Following the death of Bishiop Epiphanius, Pope Tawadros II issued new monasticism laws, topping which is the deactivation of the Social media accounts of all monks and bishops.

In case you missed it..

Pope Tawadros II issues new monasticism laws

CAIRO - 4 August 2018: Egyptian bishops deactivated their social media accounts after Pope Tawadros II had issued a set of rules regulating monasticism on Thursday. Although the decision only addresses monks, the bishops' initiative aims at setting an example of obedience to younger generations at convents. The Pope himself deactivated his accounts.

The death of Bishop Epiphanius revealed the struggle between the school of Pope Shenouda and the ecclesiastical school of Matthew the poor.

Ideological struggles: Background to Bishop Epiphanius's death

CAIRO - 12 August 2018: In an official statement released Thursday, the Church explained that those who serve God know that they are protected from the first to the last day of the year, verifying that the recent murder did not shake the church or scare those serving God.

Additional reporting by Sara Allam



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