From: Nabih Abdelmalek [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 4:41 PM
Subject: COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH PRESS RELEASE
COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH PRESS RELEASE
FOR RELEASE TO PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA
Coptic Orthodox Church Formally Condemns
Homosexuality, Ordination of Homosexuals and Same-Sex Marriages
August 26, 2003
BOSTON, MA (USA)—During its Annual Clergy convention the leaders of the
Coptic Orthodox Church discussed recent issues related to homosexuality. The
convention was presided by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of
Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. In attendance were twelve
Coptic Bishops from North America, Egypt, Australia, Europe; and 180 Coptic
priests from America, Canada and Australia. The issues discussed included:
the legalization of same-sex marriage, the ordination of a homosexual Bishop
in the Episcopalian Church in New Hampshire, U.S.A., and the vote of the
Uniting Church in Australia to allow the ordination of any homosexual
Based on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and teachings of the Old
and New Testaments, the clergy strongly condemns such activities.
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke against homosexuality when He made reference
to the abomination of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 10:12; Genesis 19:24; Jude
1:7). Similarly, St. Paul warns, “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves
... will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). See also
(Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-32).
2. Same-sex marriage is against the Divine Plan for marriage and its
purpose of procreation. “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made
them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and
mother and be joined to his wife” (Mark 10:6, 7). See also (Ephesians 5:31;
Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).
3. Therefore, those who are ordained for church ministry must uphold the
teachings of the Holy Bible. They should be: “... blameless... of good
behavior.., able to teach ...“ (1 Timothy 3:2). Consequently, we disapprove
of and condemn the ordination of homosexual clergy, active or not.
These movements not only contradict Biblical teachings, but also pose a
serious threat to the stability of the family unit, the morals of society,
the purity of the Church, and the future of ecumenical unity. While we
condemn homosexuality, we invite those who are under this sin to repent out
of concern for their eternal life.
We applaud the courageous voices of those who oppose such activities both
in and outside those churches, and call on all churches to obey the Biblical
teachings without compromise or change.
Pope Shenouda III:
On the Ordination of Women and Homosexuality (English
RealAudio - zipped)
And The Church
Pope Shenouda III
am very glad to have the opportunity to speak to the pastors of the
Church of England, I mean, to speak to the angels of the Church and
to the ministers of our Lord; those who were mentioned in the Book
of Revelation as stars in the right hand of our Lord. I thank
God because He has given me a chance to speak to those to whom the
Lord said, ‘You will be witnesses to Me.’ ‘Witnesses to
Me’ means witnesses to the truth, to the Holy Bible, to the
commandments of God, to what the Holy Spirit has said to the
churches. I want to speak to you about many things, and hope
that should you desire to discuss any point, we will have time to do
first matter is the holiness of the Church. In the Holy Creed
we say, ‘We believe in One,
are also the image of God and we carry the image of God to the
world. They see in our conduct, in our behavior, the proof
that we are the real children of God. If we read the beginning
of some of the epistles of St. Paul to the Romans for example, he
writes, ‘Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,
separated to the gospel of God" to all who are in Rome, beloved
of God, called to be saints.’ The Apostle is writing to the
the Apostolic age, not everyone was allowed to enter the church;
only those who were worthy to attend ffb the holy Eucharist and
partake of the Blood and Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. This
holy life is what we are called to, because we are the children of a
holy Father. St. Peter speaks about this point and says, ‘as
obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as
in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be
holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am
holy.’ Holy persons do not live in the lust of the flesh, but they
walk according to the Spirit. Holy persons have two characteristics.
The first is that his flesh is guided by the spirit, by his human
spirit. The second characteristic is that his spirit, his
human spirit is guided by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God
then is guiding the whole person, guiding the spirit and the body,
and that person should be holy both in body and in spirit."
me remind you of some verses from the eight chapter of the epistle
to the Romans about the body and the spirit. The holy Apostle
says, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in
Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according
to the Spirit.’ And again, ‘For those who live according
to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those
who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is
life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God;
for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.’
Then he says, ‘if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of
sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.’
‘Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live
according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh
you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the
body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of
God, these are sons of God.’
am sorry to have to speak about an issue that has become a topic of
popular discussion in the church of late. This subject is
homosexuality, and it ought not to be a matter of discussion."
of all, homosexuality is against nature. Sexual expression is
permitted only within marriage, between man and woman, male and
female. Anything else is an abnormality and is against nature.
When our Lord Jesus Christ discussed this matter with the scribes
and pharisees in St. Matthew chapter nineteen and St. Mark chapter
ten, He said ‘From the beginning, God made them male and
female,’ man and woman. This is the will of our God from the
beginning of creation. When people walked according to the
lust of the flesh in the Old Testament, they received severe
punishment from God. At the time of the Flood, only the pure,
only eight persons in the Ark of Noah were saved. All the
people who were not clean, who walked according to the flesh,
perished. Also, the people of
persons cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. They cannot inherit
course, the New Testament is not less pure than the Old Testament,
and we find a proscription of homosexual acts there as well.
In Romans chapter one it is written, ‘For the wrath of God is
revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.’ How?
Verse twenty-four teaches, ‘Therefor God also gave them up to
uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies
among themselves.’ ‘Gave them up’ means that the grace
of God left them, abandoned them and left them to their uncleanness
to dishonor their bodies. In such abnormality, they dishonor
their bodies. The honor of the body is to be the temple of the
Holy Spirit. But if it is abused then it is a dishonor to the
body. ‘For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.
For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against
nature. Like wise also the men, leaving the natural use of
woman, burned in their lust for one another, man with men committing
what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their
error which was due’."
the first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter six, the Apostle says,
‘Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, will inherit the
apostle exhorts, ‘glorify God in your body and in your spirit
which are God’s,’ because the body is for God and the spirit is
for God. In chapter three of his epistle to first
Corinthians he adds, ‘Do you not know that you are the
his epistle, St. Jude writes, ‘as
our present day I believe that our Lord has given all of us
something quite remarkable to consider. AIDS has come to many
that persist in a lifestyle that places them in both temporal and
eternal risk. Death, as a predictable consequence of infection,
usually comes slowly. It is possible that those who have been
infected may reflect upon what God has willed for them, rather
than what they have willed for themselves. I do not mean the
disease itself, but rather the holy life to which they have been
called. Unfortunately, many do not even fear such a warning,
even though they suffer a defilement of the body."
may be said of Christianity in its supreme ideology?
Christianity teaches the sublime ideas of spirituality. How
can other religions have any idea about this spiritual life if they
know that there is homosexuality in the Church and that the Church
is discussing whether it is wrong or right? The life of the
Church should be a life of holiness. A holy person is a member
of the Church, but the unholy one is not considered a member of the
Church at all. In Acts chapter two it is mentioned that ‘the
Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.’
To add to the Church those who were being saved, means exclusion
from impure forms of living for the Church is a group of saints.
Homosexuality is against the good name of Christianity."
believe that homosexuality is against the Mysteries of the Church.
What can we say about the renewal of life, the transfigured life in
Christianity if such defilement exists within the Church? How
can we claim to have been received into a new life in Christ,
clothin ffb g ourselves in Christ from the baptismal font, and
carrying the stain of a defiled, fallen life? If the new birth
that we have received includes defilement amongst its members, what
can be said of salvation itself? Baptism is called into
question. Chrismation is called into question. Marriage
is called into question. And further as we will see, Holy
Orders is called into question. Persons who suffer from a
homosexual orientation should be ashamed. If they truly know
the meaning of spiritual life, they cannot confess or otherwise
advocate a deviant lifestyle."
rights are there for homosexuals? The only right is to be led
to repentance. To live in such defilement of the body, in such
dishonor, in such abomination, while all the time asking for
liberties the Church cannot grant , is unbelievable. But what
is even more unbelievable is that these purported rights are being
encouraged by misguided members of the Church. For their
part, and emboldened by such misplaced demonstrations of allegiance,
homosexual rights advocates have even called for ordination to the
nature and character of a homosexual priesthood as icon is against
everything that holy Tradition has handed down to us as Orthodox.
Members of this Tradition, the laity, charged with the
responsibility of confessing the worthiness of the candidate for
ordination by replying Axios, Axios, Axios, could hardly preserve
the centuries entrusted them by admitting such a one. How
could an individual incapable of repentance himself, lead another to
repentance? If he cannot control himself, how can he guide
others to such control? If he finds no peace or beauty in the
holy life, how can he speak with confidence to others about the holy
life? Will he rely upon the experience of others, speak of it
as theory, or what’s even worse, as fantasy, a thing for the
childish? If he is carnal, how will he guide others to the
spiritual? Moreover, what will people say about Christianity
if such abomination happens in the Church?"
is claimed that homosexuality is a kind of love between man and man.
No, my brothers. Love should be spiritual; love should be
pure. We love others in purity. We love others in the
Spirit. And loving others should not be against our love of
God, because our Lord Jesus Christ has said, ‘He who loves father,
son, wife, sister, or brother, more than Me, is not worthy of Me, is
not worthy to be My disciple.’ We cannot love any other
person more than our Lord Jesus Christ. Every love which we
have, should be love in the Lord. We love in the Lord, not
against. The homosexual love is not love, but lust, and there
is a great difference between love and lust, lust of the flesh.
The word love is not suitable for such a relation, because in the
Gospel we say, ‘God is love.’ How can we say,
‘Homosexuality is love?’ It is not love; it is a bodily
lust, a deviated lust of the flesh, a lust that should be corrected.
If a man loves another man, can he abuse the man whom he loves?
Is this love or destruction? If a person loves a man, can he
lead this man to lose his eternity and be punished in the next life?
Is this a kind of love, to lose ones image, the image of God?"
people try to provide an excuse for the homosexual saying that he
was born in this manner, that there was no express choice, and so
unfairly burdened, he should not be held accountable. I tell
you that if he was born in the manner described, we need to heal
him, to pu ffb rge him, to correct him, to pray for him, to guide
him to repentance, to treat him medically and spiritually. But
we may not say to him, all right, we accept you as a member of the
Church and give you the Body and Blood of our Lord. While he
remains in such a state, he is an abomination. I personally do
not believe that one is homosexual by nature, certainly not in the
way that is claimed by social theorists. We have had too many
saints throughout the history of the Church who were fornicators
before repentance, and they were corrected. They may not have
been homosexuals, but they were fornicators, essentially the same
sin, but without the deviation.
must keep in mind, my beloved, that we cannot flatter persons at the
expense of the commandment of God. May I read you one or two
verses from the first epistle to the Galatians, ‘For do I now
persuade men, of God? Or do I seek to please men? For if
I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ If
I go on pleasing men in contradiction with the commandment of God,
then I will not be the servant of Christ. If I want to please
men in a correct way, then I should guide them to repentance.
This is the spiritual way of pleasing others. We should
persuade them so that they do not remain in sin and perish. There is
no way to reconcile the pleasure of man, if it comes at the
displeasure of God. What then is the benefit of pleasing men?
In the kingdom of heaven no person who lives in defilement is
allowed to enter. No fornicator can enter the
I read a book written by one of the clergy, I am ashamed to say, a
Bishop, who was defending homosexuals. He began to attack the
clergy is bound with this responsibility. In St. Matthew
chapter eighteen, God, our Lord Jesus Christ, gave His servants the
Apostles, the priests, authority saying, ‘I say to ffb you
whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you
loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Now we know that
the authority to bind or to loose must be in harmony with the Bible,
in obedience to the commandment of God. But if one should bind
or loose in disobedience, then it will most certainly not be
accepted by God. This is known to us from the epistle of
responsibility of the clergy to the people is grave. It is
repeated twice in the prophecy of Ezekiel, in chapter three and also
in chapter thirty-three. ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman
for the house of Israel; therefor hear a word from My mouth, and
give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, You shall
surely die, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the
wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man
shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your
hand.’ We are pastors. How can we suffer that the
blood of these wicked persons who will perish be required from us?
We should warn them and say to them that their present course will
lead to destruction. And at the same time God says, ‘Yet, if you
warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, not from
his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered
your soul.’ The same words are again mentioned by our Lord
in chapter thirty-three emphasizing this point. ‘So you, son
of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of
lecture of H.H. Shenouda III concludes, and at this point he begins
to field some questions. These questions were polite and did
not bring any aspect of the discussion more clarity, so we will
depart from the format we have been using to now address some issues
that the intervening years have brought into sharper focus.
Another voice will be heard, consonant not dissonant, but the reader
should know that we in the Coptic Orthodox Church have no provision
for an ‘Ex Cathedra’ declaration. Our Patr ccf iarch
obviously is at the center of all things in the Church. He is
our most able theologian, but even he would tell you that dogmatic
positions of faith must have their genesis in the Holy Synod.
At this time, there has not been any official pronouncement from
that body on the subject of homosexuality. Additionally, it
seems that the West is continually talking only to itself.
There is a growing distance in the perception of some as to what is
demonstrably real when societies look at one another. In the
Church this same problem develops because of a lack of a common
hermeneutic. Virtually everything may be called into question,
and the defense of a single issue requires a reasoned agreement on
what the least constituent part will contain. We need to begin
with a new lexicon, because whoever will control the vocabulary will
control the debate.
use of the word love is central to any discussion. We learn about
love, wholly and completely, from God. All of the
meaning of love is contained in and through His relationship with
us. Love defines us and is the common currency in any Christian
exchange. The type and nature of God’s love is clearly
outlined in biblical text. We are taught to distinguish
God’s love from every other sort. We experience the care and
the protection of God’s love, never exploitation There are
numerous cautionary tales that speak to the consequence of
abandoning, or being abandoned. To be separated from God’s love is
in fact the essence of Hell. Given that this is true, any
distortion of the image of that love is not an innocuous, or
alternative or subjective experience, but rather an attack on the
revealed identity of God Himself. Orthodoxy in its eastern or
oriental expression, divided since the middle of the fifth century,
has developed a parallel theology surrounding the use of icons in
the Church. We stand before them and they confess to us both a
history and living presence. They have their own language and
are written with utmost care and precision. It is the
bishop’s responsibility to oversee the placement of each icon in
his diocese; it is for him to judge the written truth of each holy
image. There is no equivalent anywhere else. Sacred art
seems to have degraded to a matter of personal taste, and when this
is allowed to occur, a general laxity in other matters is the
As I was getting ready to write this article it came to my attention from my dear friend Dr. Maged Kamel; M.D.Ph.D. that His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark wrote again this week on the Issue of Homosexuality. It is sufficient to hear the words of His Holiness, and I refer the reader to the text entitled: “Homosexuality and the Church:
However, I would like to add my humble words as a testimony of a believer in Christ who has been living in the Western World with no interruption since 1969:
Asking His Holiness Prayers and Intercession. It is interesting that in the same week (the week of July 28, 2003) opposite views are on the news from two major Christian denominations:
1. The Anglican. also referred to as Episcopal Church in the United States has there annual Church conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in which that Church made declarations supporting homosexual (unions) they call them and supporting gay (homosexual) clergy by appointing an open gay person as their bishop in New Hampshire, USA.
2. In the meantime His Holiness Pope John Paul II issued a statement against homosexual unions, stating that marriage is only valid between one man and one woman, as husband and wife. He also declared that it is not permitted to have homosexual clergy. God Bless you Holy Father, this is the right thing to say and the right thing to do in this age and in all ages to the end of all ages. We also believe the same, because the bible clearly stated in more than one place that homosexuality is against the nature that God created, and that marriage union is a sacred union between a man and a woman (husband and wife).
3. Our President here, Mr. George W. Bush (bush al-ibn)
also made a statement yesterday, July 30th similar to what the Catholic Pope
said. Of course there is no relation between the two, no coordination, no
timing. It is that the majority of Republicans, and in particular the Christian
Right is against the legalization of homosexual marriages. God Bless you Mr.
President, you are much smarter than many people think.
You and me and millions around the world did read two opposing views on homosexual behavior. One from the Catholic Church, the Largest single branch of Christianity, 1.2 billion followers; and one from the Anglican Church (Church of England) in the USA with a following of less than 10 million people. Unfortunately, the mother Church of the American English Church, the Church of England allows homosexual unions, and homosexual clergy.
1. Numbers is not the issue here, so regardless of the size
of the Church, the Catholic hierarchy represented in the Pope is doing the right
2. The Anglican Church has been divided over this issue and
will be divided one more time over the latest declarations and actions. Because
not only they allow and in turn perform homosexual marriages, a desecration of
everything that is Christian, but also they also appointed a gay person in the
position of bishop, leader of their followers in an entire region.
It is sad and it is disgusting for a Church to set a bad
example. Searching the Bible for adultery, fornication, sodomy, against nature
produced 1265 results; none of it is good; See:
Christianity is a religion based on Love. Searching the
Bible for the words Jesus, Love I came up with 42 verses where the two words
come together; See
Searching for the word Love alone, I came up with 620 entries; See
Searching for the word Jesus alone; I came up with 1063 entries; See
Without boring you with the meaning of all of that, the conclusion of my life, and millions of other lives that share the same belief today; I believe that God is Love:
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (Whole Chapter: 1 John 4 In context: 1 John 4:7-9)
Also the verse that many of us live with and are willing to happily die for is:
John 3:16"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Understanding these two verses alone, leads a clean heart to conclude that we have to love, Jesus, the only begotten, begotten not made, the consubstantial (of the same essence) with the Father came for us, for our salvation, because He (God) is Love. But then you ask yourself: What is salvation? Salvation is to be saved, to be redeemed from the condition of sin that leads to eternal death, eternal damnation (hell); to purity that leads to eternal life with God and his saints. This salvaIion requires one to repent: Listen to the words of our Lord:
”I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Whole Chapter: Luke 13 In context: Luke 13:4-6)
”I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Whole Chapter: Luke 13 In context: Luke 13:2-4)
”So they went out and preached that people should repent.” (Whole Chapter: Mark 6 In context: Mark 6:11-13)
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Whole Chapter: Matthew 3 In context: Matthew 3:1-3)
And he said, "No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'” (Whole Chapter: Luke 16 In context: Luke 16:29-31)
So, one may asks: Is homosexuality a sin?. Here is some not all of what the Bible Says:
”Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God”. (I Corinthians 6:7-11).
”6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."(Revelation 21: 6-8)
be to our God in His Church (believers), you and me who try to please God in our
deeds. God Bless us all.
William A. Hanna; Ph.D.EE
St. Louis, Missouri; USA