Skip to comments.New Coptic Catholic leader receives Pope's approval
Posted on 01/18/2013 2:40:02 PM PST by NYer
Vatican City, Jan 18, 2013 / 03:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI approved Bishop Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak as the new Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts in Egypt, granting him "ecclesiastical communion.''
The former Bishop of Minya was elected during a Synod of Bishops of the Coptic Catholic Church in Cairo, which lasted from Jan. 12 to16. As part of the election, his rank was raised to archbishop.
The 57-year-old will replace Cardinal Antonio Naguib, aged 77, who resigned on Jan. 18 after suffering from partial paralysis and undergoing brain surgery.
The Vatican hopes his appointment will see more collaboration with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, who began his patriarchal ministry in Egypt just two months ago.
And the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, including the heads of the Roman, Melkite, Maronite, Syrian, Armenian and Chaldean Rites, all offered a formal welcome to the new leader.
"The international press has called you a 'young patriarch,'" they said in a letter dated Jan. 18.
"We are sure that with this 'youth' you will be a point of reference within the Council of Oriental Catholic Patriarchs and the Ecumenical Council of the Churches and for the Church of Egypt," they added.
Archbishop Sidrak was born in Assiut, Egypt, and studied philosophy and theology at a Coptic seminary in Cairo.
He was ordained a priest on Feb. 7, 1980 and incarnated in the Eparchy of Assiut.
He served two years in the Church Michael the Archangel in Cairo before moving to Rome where he received a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Archbishop Sidrak returned to Egypt where he taught theology at his seminary, the Patriarchal Seminary of Maadi.
He was elected Bishop of Minya in 2002 after working as rector of the seminary and as secretary general for the Coptic Catholic Church's office for catechetical teaching.
The Egyptian is the second bishop of Minya – an area south of Cairo holding one-fifth of the country's estimated 200,000 Copts – to be elected patriarch.
His ministry as bishop was marked by his efforts to help farmers and people in need, regardless of their faith, through increased social and charitable activities in the villages of the diocese.
The Coptic Catholic Church was established in 1824 and there are five parishes in the United States and in Canada.
Egypt now has two heads of Churches – Archbishop Sidra and the Coptic Orthodox leader Pope Tawadros II.
Over 10 percent of Egyptians are Copts, which makes them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.
The Orthodox and Coptic leaders will surely be discussing the saftey of Egyptian Christians, which became a topic of concern after President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood Party and radical Salafis took up power in the country.
Christians also fear that the recently approved constitution will fail to protect them.
Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
Please freepmail me if you would like more information on the Eastern Catholic Churches.
God bless and protect him.
One of the most important finds of ancient Greek coins was made here in 1969--the Asyut hoard of 873 coins, thought to have been buried about 475 B.C. It has many coins from mainland Greece but also some from the Greek cities in Sicily, apparently something rarely found in ancient Egypt. See Archaic Greek coinage: the Asyut Hoard by Martin Price and Nancy Waggoner (London, 1975).
For more information on their history, visit ARCHAIC GREEK SILVER COINAGE THE ASYUT HOARD
***Pope Benedict XVI approved Bishop Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak as the new Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts in Egypt, granting him “ecclesiastical communion.’’***
Didn’t one of the resident Catholics here on FR recently declare the Copts to be a product of heretics?
Found it! Post #7
To: Citizen Tom Paine
“the Coptic Church is a 5th-6th century product of schism and heresy.”
7 posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 7:10:55 PM by vladimir998
If the leader lived in Pennsylvania, would his flock be known as the Keystone Copts?
Okay, sure, I’ll leave. ;’)
“Didnt one of the resident Catholics here on FR recently declare the Copts to be a product of heretics?”
Yep, and I was right too.
“Found it! Post #7”
And the Copts are products of heresy. The Coptic Catholics are those Copts who renounced their heresy and schism. Perhaps you didn’t know they have been two different groups for several centuries now. Most Protestants are too ignorant to know such things since they barely know anything about Church history.
I was right then, and I’m right now. Thanks for playing.
I've read that relations are very good, though, and unification is a possibility. I'm praying for that. I'm also praying that they're not wiped out.
Thank you for this post! Great info!! I am praying at times for our Egyptian Christians.
Well from the Copts perspective, the Latins are the heretics. The Latin church may be bigger, but the Copts are older, and there are some things about the Eastern I like much better than the Western church, from the Protestant perspective.
“Well from the Copts perspective, the Latins are the heretics.”
Copts have no authority to judge the Church as heretical. The very idea is absurd.
“The Latin church may be bigger, but the Copts are older, and there are some things about the Eastern I like much better than the Western church, from the Protestant perspective.”
The Coptic Church is not older - it dates back to the 5th or 6th century at most. What a Protestant likes or dislikes is inconsequential in regard to truth. Truth is truth. It has nothing to do with being likable or dislikable.
Christianity spread to all of these areas in the first 20 or 30 years and the Greeks, Latins, and Copts had mostly been on the same side in the earlier doctrinal controversies so it doesn't make sense to say that one church is older than another.
A few years ago, I purchased this book to read during Lent. Normally, reading is tedious for me but I could not put this book down and recommended it to one of our well known freepers, Kolokotronis. He loved it so much that he began recommending it to his Orthodox friends. I did the same with my Catholic friends. The book is a veritable gem and a MUST READ!
DESCRIPTION: - Written as a journal, Journey Back to Eden recounts Mark Gruber's year of spiritual discovery among the austere desert monasteries of Egypt. His journey began almost accidentally as part of his doctoral research, but it became more, much more. His account - entertaining, poignant, and spiritually challenging - takes us back to the times of St. Anthony and the ancient Desert Fathers.
MOST HELPFUL CUSTOMER REVIEW
Father Gruber's journal of his year with the Copts cannot be called a travelogue of the trials and tribulations of a young American student in Egypt. Throughout his day-to-day activities and frustrations lies a deeper insight into the people of a world in which all things are influenced by the spiritual. In the early days of his journey, for example, he tells of building a sand castle on a beach. Father Gruber is accosted by some young Muslim boys who accuse him of spreading Christianity in Egypt, mistaking his sand castle for a church. Egypt is truly a place of discovery, Gruber says, " ... seeing the character of these people and how deeply their religious concerns and issues preoccupy them and how they tend to interpret everything they experience through the prism of their faith. In seconds, the boys kicked down the towers of my castles and ran away ... triumphant or afraid?"
He also learns with some amazement of the Copts' respect for monks and priests, and he marvels at finding himself standing in churches using a handcross on lines of pilgrims who approach for blessings. On another occasion, he is baffled by an encounter with two Muslim brothers who, thinking there is a bad spirit in their house after their father's death, ask Father Gruber to bless the house. When he expresses his puzzlement, they respond that this is perfectly acceptable, and he should not fear any problems would persist. He is told not to interpret this as a secret vote of confidence from the Moslems. A friend tells him Moslems rationalize that the Muslim sheik is dealing with God directly and "if you want to resolve a problem with evil spirits, you need someone whose religion is of a lesser sort."
While the book can easily be read as a journal from beginning to end, its daily entries lend themselves to being read individually as spiritual and cultural reflections on an ancient people who can offer insights to modern Western man. Father Gruber's conversations with the monks lead to his understanding of the sense of humility and charity of the desert monks. His travels to 12 Coptic monasteries in the Egyptian desert describe monastic lifestyles steeped in silence, prayer and an austere existence devoid of any modern conveniences. At the same time, the monasteries, defined in many ways by climate and geography, are built on a deep sense of community. How is it that in a world of every modern convenience, where geography and climate play little role in movement and lifestyle, most Westerners remain isolated? As Father Gruber prepared to leave Egypt, he realized how intensely he was affected by the Copts of Egypt. Thus, this is essentially a book about a deeply spiritual pilgrimage and the profound impact it had on one man's life. The afterword strikes a note of longing to remain in Egypt tempered with a desire to return to America. "I shall only manage to return to the world from which I came if I consider myself a bearer of the desert harvest.... My eyes will be turning backward, even as I had once looked forward to a future horizon before I came here."
Personally, being Roman Catholic and practicing my faith in an Eastern Catholic Church, I was drawn into the deep spirituality of the Coptic monks and intrigued by Fr. Gruber's reactions. I truly treasure this small book and those with whom I have shared it, have felt the same way. They now "gift" it to friends and relatives. You can read through portions of the book on the AMAZON.COM web site.
Keep in mind that there are two Coptic Churches - one Orthodox, the other Catholic. The Coptic Catholic Church is an Alexandrian Rite particular Church in full communion with the Pope of Rome. Historically, it represents a schism from the Coptic Orthodox Church, its adherents having left the Orthodox church to enter into communion with the Bishop of Rome. Read More
The Coptic Catholics are those Copts who renounced their heresy and schism. >>
sounds correct to me, because if they didn’t renounce thier heresy they would still be Orthodox, right?
Well, that is the info I was looking for. Thanks.
Now when I see the words “Coptic” I will know there is a difference. between the two branches.
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