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Coptic Church Issues 12 Decrees Following Bishop’s Death

Coptic Church Issues 12 Decrees Following Bishop’s Death

Following the suspected murder of Bishop Epiphanius last Sunday, the Monastic Affairs Committee of the Holy Synod, the highest authority of the Coptic Orthodox Church, issued 12 new decrees on Thursday to regulate monk’s activities and monasteries beginning from August 2018.

The decrees were taken after a meeting was held “to discuss monastic order in light of the painful incident and martyrdom of Bishop Epiphanius,” a church statement said.

Pope Tawadros ratified the decrees after “prayers and discussions about restoring order” in monastic affairs.

Included in the decrees is the decision to suspend the acceptance of new candidates who seek to become monks or novices for one year, and the ordination of new monks as priests and archpriests for three years.

It also ruled the prohibition of any media appearances by monks and gave a one month deadline for all monks to deactivate their social media accounts.

Involvement in any financial operations or attending any weddings or funerals without the church’s permission is disallowed, as well as the construction of monastries without approval.

Non-clerical or ‘secular’ individuals will also be banned from attending monastic ordination to preserve the sanctity of monastic traditions.

Currently, the bishop’s death is being investigated by security authorities, with still little information found regarding the reasons for the incident.

Bishop Epiphanius was the head of Anba Makar Monastry (Saint Macarius the Great) near Wadi El-Natroun.

It was reported that he was found dead in a pool of blood in his own room, with fractures in his skill and injuries on his back.

“Despite the bitterness of pain, we raise our hands to the skies where our comfort lies,” Pope Tawadros stated in the funeral on Tuesday, warning monks that, “you have been cut off from the world and should not be used in any way.”

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Mirna Abdulaal is a writer, researcher and aspiring public/political communication specialist interested in women's rights, cultural heritage and fashion, and political communication.

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