Update on Fr Bishoy Andrawes, Atef Aziz and St Mark’s DC

This is a summary of the results of the Pope’s investigation into Fr Bishoy Andrawes, as reported to the congregation of St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, Washington, D.C. by H.E. Metropolitan Serapion and H.G. Bishop Karas in a meeting on 4/2/2016.

Update on Fr Bishoy Andrawes, Atef Aziz and St Mark’s DC

1. Fr Bishoy has been moved to St Mary and St Mercurius in Belleville, New Jersey (www.smandsm.org).

2. The investigation uncovered many other Coptic parishes in North America that have been in contact with Atef Aziz and/or his followers, adopting their teachings. Anba Serapion observed that Atef Aziz seems to be targeting college age youth, young priests and their wives. H.E. will explore the idea of publishing a book about Atef Aziz’s wrong teachings.

3. Anba Serapion has been in touch with the OCA, an Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction where Atef Aziz is currently a monk of the Monastery of St John of San Francisco, but does not reside in the monastery. H.E. met with Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West (OCA) who had tonsured Atef Aziz as a monk. Archbishop Benjamin told him that he didn’t know about Atef’s history, and that he would recall Atef back to the monastery.

4. Anba Serapion specified the wrong teaching as being extreme asceticism – the goal of the spiritual life should be to discipline our bodies against the passions of the flesh, not to beat our bodies up.

Anba Serapion also wrote to the Metropolitan of the OCA, Tikhon (Mollard), informing him that Atef Aziz was targeting the Coptic youth and that if this continues it will put a strain on the relationship between the Coptic Church and the OCA.

Apart from this public meeting, reliable sources have also informed us that Atef Aziz has been actively bringing his followers from Egypt to America in order to infiltrate Coptic parishes. American disciples of Fr Bishoy are also spreading this spirituality abroad; anecdotally, one youth moved from DC to California to start his own discipleship group there.

Restore the unbelievers; may the schisms of the Church cease. Strip the vanity of the heretics, and count us all in the unity of godliness.