H.H. Pope Tawadros II Takes a Stand for Orthodoxy

Coptic Orthodox Pope Opens Investigation into Protestant-Influenced DC area Churches

After receiving complaints from bishops, priests, and servants about a so-called “New Age Orthodoxy” movement in the Washington, DC area which incorporates Evangelical and Charismatic theology, materials and so-called “praise & worship” music into the life of the Coptic Orthodox Church, H.H. Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria has appointed a committee of three bishops to investigate the matter. Originally from the 5 April edition of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s official publication, el-Keraza magazine.

HIS GRACE ANBA MICHAEL

His Grace was ordained a bishop in the feast of Pentecost June 7, 2009 by the late Pope Shenouda III to oversee the Copts in eight American states that would have been a new diocese that would have been called Mid-South Atlantic. We have an official letter signed by His Holiness Pope Shenouda to this effect, signed, sealed and dated August 20, 2009, less than three months after the ordination of Bishop Michael.

However, due to the health problems that beset His Holiness in the last years, nothing was done about it. It should be noted that Anba Michael served this area for more than thirty years when he was a monk by the name of Hegoumen Shenouda el-Baramousy, and his service is well attested to, besides the fact that his presence and service in the area is older than any of the priests in these eight states.

Following the enthronement of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in November, 2012, several complaints came to him from bishops, priests and servants about the rise of a non-Orthodox way of service in some of the churches in this area and their meetings, which they called “New Age Orthodoxy”. This is probably due to lack of study or lack of knowledge or maybe lack of diligence in following the pure dogma, and possibly other factors as being influenced by some Western churches that have a creed that is contrary to our Orthodox faith. There were also non-Orthodox practices in some of our Coptic churches in those areas which the fathers the priests and those responsible for the purity of the teaching there did not stand up against.

A serious stand had to be made, therefore His Holiness appointed a committee from three bishops, one from Egypt, one from the Southern USA and one from South Africa to study the situation on the ground. The committee traveled there in February 2013 and met several times with the priests, the board members and the servants as well as those of different inclinations. The committee returned and presented a report to His Holiness in March 10, 2013 and His Holiness studied that report in preparation for taking the appropriate decision soon.

It should be noted that His Holiness is responsible for all diocese through the priests (of areas that do not have a bishop) until they become a diocese under the guidance of a bishop. For an area to be directly under His Holiness the Pope is untenable and undesirable due to the spread of the see and its services. As an example, His holiness appointed His Grace Anba Kirillos, bishop of Milan as a Papal vicar to help him in the service of all of Europe.

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