Coptic Church May Recognize Roman Catholic Baptisms

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Coptic Church May Recognize Roman Catholic Baptisms

As reported on May 22, 2013 by Catholic News USA and Zenit news, continuing ecumenical discussions between the Coptic Anti-Chalcedonian (Monophysite) Church of Egypt and the Roman Catholic Church, could lead to the Coptic Patriarchate recognizing the Baptisms of the Roman Catholic Church. Previously, the traditional policy of the Coptic Church was that it did not recognize the Baptisms outside of its own communion of Churches (that is, the Armenian, Syro-Jacobite, etc, anti-chalcedonian monophysite churches). Though, it had reached agreements with the World Orthodox Patriarchates to recognize theirs; however, even this has proven problematic, because, not only does the Coptic Church officially reject the Baptisms of Roman Catholics and Protestants as acceptable, but, it even rejects the popular policy of the World Orthodox Patriarchates to Chrismate Protestants and Roman Catholics (baptizing such if they convert to the Coptic Church).

Since the ill health of the current Coptic Catholic Patriarch (Uniate Coptic Church in union with the Vatican) Cardinal Antonios Naguib, Bp. Kyrillos William, the Bishop of Assiut, was assigned to aid in the administration of the Coptic Catholic population. Since then Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak succeeded Cardinal Antonios as Coptic Patriarch, being elected by the Coptic Catholic Synod in January of 2013, with the election later confirmed by Benedict XVI of Rome.

According to Bp. Kyrillos William, recent discussion between the Vatican and the Coptic Church achieved an ecumenist success with the meeting  earlier in May 2013 between Pope Francis and Coptic Pope Tawadros II. The predecessor to Tawadros II, Pope Shenouda III, had required conversion of the non-Coptic party in case of marriage, including the Baptism of Roman Catholics or Protestants, whether in marriage or in any other conversion situation.  This policy was re-enforced by Pope Shenouda III making the appointment of several bishops to the Coptic Church which supported this policy. However, according to statements by Bp. Kyrillos William, this may soon change, as apparently Pope Tawadros II has stated his willingness to move in a more ecumenical direction with Rome.

According to Bp. Kyrillos, “Now it isn’t easy to obtain an audience in the Vatican at short notice. But great efforts were made to meet Tawadros’ wishes. I think that this really is a watershed. Tawadros is quite different from his predecessor Shenouda as far as the ecumenical movement is concerned.”

From a traditionalist (“Eastern”) Orthodox perspective, the Coptic Church is not considered Orthodox, nor any of the Churches that reject Chalcedon; this has proven to be a key difference between the traditional, or true, Orthodox Churches, and the World Patriarchates that have achieved limited to full inter-communion with the anti-Chalcedonian Monophysite churches. It seems, from all the information, that, the Coptic Monophysite Church felt that it could have some degree of ecumenical relation, including the recognition of Sacraments, with the World Patriarchates, but, for some time, further ecumenism was held back by more conservative tendencies, represented by Pope Shenouda III, etc. Yet, even this seems strangely provincial, as the sister churches of the Coptic Church, such as the the Armenian Church have long had a policy of giving communion to Roman Catholics, recognizing their baptisms, sacraments, etc (of course, other differences that have recently caused friction between Copts and Armenians in the US, i.e., Coptic insistence on Confession before Communion; while private confession to a priest has all but been abolished by the Armenian Church), as well as the recognition and limited inter-communion achieved between the Syro-Jacobite Church of Antioch and Rome (as well as similar agreements between Rome and the Malankaran Church)

It is the sincere wish of traditionalist Orthodox Christians that the Coptic people, whether Coptic Anti-Chalcedonians (Monophysites) or Coptic Catholics, return to the Orthodox Church, and accept all the Seven Ecumenical Councils and teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Church of Christ.  However, it seems, due to the modernist/ecumenist stance of the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria, as well as the notorious Antiochian Patriarchate, etc, such a message of True Orthodoxy has not been at all presented to them; instead, all that has been told them has confirmed them in their sad error.

One wonders, when will the many Coptic Christians who are members of the Coptic Church realize that, what they often thought was correct Orthodox practices (such as not giving Communion to non-Orthodox, disruption of communion with those who teach heresy, etc) are not even being practiced by their Sister Churches; nor it seems, will this soon be the policy of the Coptic Pope and his Synod itself (yet they have maintained communion all these years with their sister churches that give communion to Roman Catholics and recognize the Vatican as part of the Church)? At which point, they must ask, “Where is the true Church?” After all, the majority of Coptic Christians believed that they were Orthodox, and what if they realize that they are not part of the Orthodox Church? Who do they look to for the Truth? If it is not in the Roman Catholic Church, or the anti-Chalcedonian bodies which no longer maintain their own tradition (and thus going the way of the ecclesiastical historical nihilism of the Assyrian Church of the East), nor in the World Patriarchates, then where is it? The answer, from the editors of this site, is that it is found in the True Orthodox Church, which maintains the strict confession of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, and all others Councils of Orthodoxy; this alone, in an age of modernist and ecumenical morass, should demonstrate the truth of True Orthodoxy. The fact that no such movements have been generated in the Nestorian or Monophysite Churches should give evidence of the lack of considering them for this position. In a time of great persecution and harm done to the Coptic community from the Islamic powers of Egypt, what will be the stay of the Coptic people, when they realize that all they have been taught has been thrown under the bus by their own leaders, and the leaders of their Sister Churches, in pursuit of ecumenical solidarity that leads them even further from Orthodox Truth than before?

 

  • James Kohn

    wow this makes it seem like Catholics reject the first 7 ecumenical councils….nice try

    • HmkEnoch

      James,

      That’s why it says later on:

      “The answer, from the editors of this site, is that it is found in the
      True Orthodox Church, which maintains the strict confession of the Seven
      Ecumenical Councils, and all other Councils; this alone, in an age of
      modernist and ecumenical morass, should demonstrate the truth of True
      Orthodoxy.”

      The “all other Councils” would be the ones Vatican and Orthodoxy disagree over; such as the Synod of Bethlehem, Council of Blacharnae, Palamite Synods, etc. The point is, if the Copts reject Rome as being in the true Church; yet, they maintain open communion with their sister Armenian, Syro-Jacobite, and Malankaran Churches which accept Rome as being part of the Church and even these bodies share sacraments with Roman Catholics, then, it makes no logical sense for the Coptic Church to be in communion with them. Yet, it is; therefore, how can they claim to be the true Church of Christ, or part of it,when they are in open communion with those who deny their own fundamental ecclesiology and praxis? Since the appeal was for Copts to accept Orthodoxy, which includes the Seven Councils, while rejecting Rome (since the Coptic Uniate accept the first Seven), it was necessary to put “other councils” in there; also, most Copts generally don’t consider Rome as they rightly reject the filioque, papal supremacy, etc.

      However, if you are referring to the statement further up, that mention Coptic Catholics< then Enoch

    • HmkEnoch

      Do Romans accept all the Canons and Decrees of the Councils? Including the condemnation of Pope Honorius by the Sixth Ecumenical Council?

  • Basset

    This articile is NOT correct: The Coptic Church are MIAPHYSITES! They are NOT monophysites!

    • HmkEnoch

      The article is written primarily from the traditional Eastern Orthodox perspective which has considered the Coptic Church to be monophysite for rejecting the Fourth Ecumenical Council.

    • HmkEnoch

      I would encourage you to get a Greek-English lexicon and look up the definitions of “mia” and “mono”. They both mean “alone, one, same, etc”. It’s like someone arguing that Our Lady isn’t ‘Ever-Virgn’ but, “Always-Virgin”.

  • George Zwierzchowski

    the Catholic church recognises that the coptics are NOT monophysites and that there was semantical confusion at the heart of the split. I have read all of shenoudas books that were translated and see zero evidence for monophysite theology. I find the eastern orthodox often as beligerent as the protestants. Like some romanian bishop who claimed catholics have the doctrine of “the end justifies the means”. thats like blaming orthodoxy for ciacescu because they are proximate. I find the easterners love to throw rocks at strawmen they create. their own church is in shambles with rogue priests marrying gays and patriarchs cowtowing to state policies. divorce being a case in point. in what council was remarriage agreed on?
    ecumenicism starts when we realise we need each other. standing with your arms folded and expecting other apostolic sees to come crawling is ridiculous and counter productive.

    • HmkEnoch

      Papism may indeed now; historically it didn’t. In fact, historically, everyone knew better. Papism at this point is extremely degenerate from a theological and liturgical perspective; far more than it has been in history. Shenouda states Christ has one will; he states Chalcedon was ‘Crypto-Nestorian”, he attacks St. Leo of Rome. The ‘difference of terminology’ explanation is one that has basically been constructed in the past 100 years or so to justify activities, attidudes and behaviours that would never be accepted historicially, namelly, to justify the new heresy of ecumenism.
      Secondly, George, if you are referring to members of the ‘official world’ Patriarchs, you quite right; they have no concern for doctrine or little, and they are in fact heretical. So, the True Orthodox do not consider them to be part of the Church, but their sees to be absent. As regard remarriage; it would depend upon what you mean. The Orthodox count Trullo as an Ecumenical Council, and extension of the Sixth, and therefore Canon 87.. Traditionally, in the Orthodox Church, divorces have generally been very difficult to obtain, assuming the marriage was accepted as a valid Mystery (marriages performed before Baptism and/or Chrismation [or other forms of Reception] into the Orthodox Church are not counted as a Sacrament, per Apostolic Canon 16 [See Interpretation also by St. Nikdoemus of the Holy Mount]). That the discipline have completely broken down, and broken down miserably in the modernist-ecumenist churches of “World Orthodox” is a lamentable fact.
      Ecumenism is an heresy. All ancient Canons of the Fathers absolutely and strictly prohibited prayers and joint-services with non-Orthodox; the rulings of the Ecumenical Councils against joint-prayers and services with non-Orthodox is based upon ancient Tradition of the Church. If is the Orthodox Church is the True Church then others have to accept the Orthodox Christian Faith to be part of the True Church; otherwise, we are left with the impossible theory that the Church has not been “One” in any meaningful sense for 1500 years, and therefore, all the Fathers, Councils and Saints were wrong. If that is so, then there is no reason to listen to any of them on any question, and thus the disintegration of any meaningful form of Christianity.

    • HmkEnoch

      A semantical confusion between what? Coptic speakers and Greek speakers? Well, Discorus was a Greek speaker. The issue was continuously and vigorously discussed for hundreds of years; you find it being seriously discussed all the way up to and beyond the 5th Ecumenical Council. In fact, all the originators of the ancient major heresies and the defenders of the Orthodox doctrine all were Greek speakers and familiar with the same Scripture and Fathers. They weren’t all that stupid and ignorant and evil as to not simply know the difference between John Philiponos (the Greek speaking early Byzantine philosopher who became convinced of the Monophysite position) and Leontius of Byzantium. We give too little credit to the ancients. I suppose we are to believe that ‘mono’ and ‘mia’ don’t both really mean the same thing. μία literally means “One”. μόνος means “Single”. So, it would be like say, “I’d like a single car; no more.” but, that is just as interchangeable as saying, “I’d like one car.”