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Author Topic: The COC Openly Defies High Court Ruling  (Read 13141 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 02, 2010, 10:33:22 AM »

EGYPT: Coptic Church rejects second marriages despite court ruling

June 1, 2010 | 10:53 am
 
The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church will not abide to a recent Higher Administrative Court ruling allowing Copts the right to remarry: "We respect the Egyptian judiciary, but no force on earth can make the Church violate teachings of the holy bible in order to execute a judicial verdict," Father Armia, Pope Shenouda III's secretary, said this week.
"Islam allows Copts to resort to its Shari'a and in turn, no one should interfere in the Church's own practices and decisions."

On Sunday, the pope lost an appeal to overturn a court verdict in favor of a Copt, who sued the church for denying him authorization to wed again after divorcing his first wife. The court said that, "By law, a Christian can remarry and the constitution guarantees his rights to have a [new] family. The appeal by Pope Shenouda III to prevent Copts from remarrying is rejected."

The Administrative Court's verdicts are final and cannot be appealed.

Egyptian Copts, who make up about 10% of the country's population of 80 million, are forbidden to divorce except in the cases of proven adultery or the religious conversion of a spouse. However, many Copts turn to the civil law and some of its articles, which are based on the Islamic law to get divorced through courts rather than their church.

In the last few years many, Copts have converted to Islam in order to get divorced. Most of them end up recanting and rejoining to their original Christian religion after their divorce procedures were secured. Civil (non-religious) marriages, which permit divorces regardless of people's religion, are not officially recognized in Egypt.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 10:36:03 AM »

Shenouda rejects court decision permitting divorcees to remarry

Pope Shenouda III, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, said he absolutely rejects a recent ruling by the Administrative Court obliging the church to grant divorcees permits to remarry.

"We are only bound by the Holy Bible," said Shenouda during his biweekly sermon in Alexandria yesterday.

Shenouda further threatened to defrock any priest who allows a divorced Christian to remarry, except in cases where the divorce was on the grounds of adultery.

The Pope highlighted that the court ruling is civil in nature, while marriage is an affair governed by religious rules. "If the court wishes to make it up to Christians then should issue the law on Personal Status for Christians, which was approved by all churches," he said.

Meanwhile, Ramsis el-Naggar, lawyer to Pope Shenouda, said the church is looking at legal procedures to challenge the court ruling. A legal committee of Coptic lawyers will be formed to submit a report on the case to the Pope.

El-Naggar said the Administrative Court's decision cannot be appealed, but the church will go to the Supreme Constitutional Court for an interpretation of Article 69 of the denominational regulations, which is concerned with the remarriage of divorcees.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 12:02:29 PM »

I don't understand how a civil court could interfere in a religious matter.  But I guess Egypt organizes its system very differently from how we do.
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 12:12:57 PM »


I don't understand why people would actually take their own Church to a civil court....just because they don't like the "rules".
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 12:23:42 PM »

I don't understand how a civil court could interfere in a religious matter.  But I guess Egypt organizes its system very differently from how we do.
Yes, but Egypt isn't the only case. Shah Bano kept on insisting to have her case ruled on according to shari'ah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Bano_case
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 01:58:09 PM »

Could one of our Coptic friends enlighten us as to how the system works in Egypt, and why divorce is forbidden?

While I am not a proponent of divorce, I could see how in cases of domestic violence, it could be necessary.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 02:19:52 PM »

Could one of our Coptic friends enlighten us as to how the system works in Egypt, and why divorce is forbidden?

While I am not a proponent of divorce, I could see how in cases of domestic violence, it could be necessary.
As far as I know, domestic violence is not a grounds for divorce in Egypt.

The law used to not require the man to notify the wife that she was divorced.

The was a personal status law a while back for the Christians (the shari'ah forms the basis of legislation in Egypt), which allowed for apostacy. At the time a Coptic woman "converted" to the Syriac Church for her divorce.  Before that, conversion to Islam was the usual means to get one.
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 07:31:22 PM »

I am sure there are news articles on the subject out there. Hopefully someone can do the research and link us to some. I don't have time for that right now. A basic summary of the issue:

The Coptic Orthodox Church forbids second marriages in any circumstance apart from the circumstances in which Scripture deems it permissible: if one of the spouses has committed adultery, died, or apostasised.

A man who divorced his wife on grounds other than the three mentioned above sought to force the Church to permit him a second marriage by taking the Synod, headed by H.H. Pope Shenouda III (may God prolong his life in peace), to Court. The High Court ruled in favour of the man. The man secured a second court order to the effect that it would be a criminal offence if the Church would defy the original court order compelling it to permit second marriages.

H.H. Pope Shenouda held a public press conference yesterday in which he openly declared on behalf of the entire Synod that no man or Court could make them act contrary to the Holy Tradition of the Church.

As to the consequences of this open defiance of an order of Egypt's highest court...we can only wait and pray.




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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2010, 08:20:50 PM »

Oh my!  Shocked

I hope that this does not turn out too poorly for the Coptic Orthodox in Egypt.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2010, 08:23:12 PM »

What a monstrosity!  The court should keep its nose out of the Church's business, and the man should seek his marriage elsewhere.  May nothing befall any members of the Coptic Church, least of all Pope Shenouda.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2010, 08:31:27 PM »

What a monstrosity!  The court should keep its nose out of the Church's business, and the man should seek his marriage elsewhere.  May nothing befall any members of the Coptic Church, least of all Pope Shenouda.

The Moslems of Egypt will stop at nothing, even using the court system to attempt to bring about the ruin of the Coptic Orthodox Church and her adherents.  From what little I know of Egyptian law, there is nothing that prevents a civil court (or even a Sharia court) from ruling on matters that we would deem church-only affairs.  Things like this make you grateful you live in the United States where things like this don't (usually) happen.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2010, 08:56:38 PM »

I am sure there are news articles on the subject out there. Hopefully someone can do the research and link us to some. I don't have time for that right now. A basic summary of the issue:

The Coptic Orthodox Church forbids second marriages in any circumstance apart from the circumstances in which Scripture deems it permissible: if one of the spouses has committed adultery, died, or apostasised.

A man who divorced his wife on grounds other than the three mentioned above sought to force the Church to permit him a second marriage by taking the Synod, headed by H.H. Pope Shenouda III (may God prolong his life in peace), to Court. The High Court ruled in favour of the man. The man secured a second court order to the effect that it would be a criminal offence if the Church would defy the original court order compelling it to permit second marriages.

H.H. Pope Shenouda held a public press conference yesterday in which he openly declared on behalf of the entire Synod that no man or Court could make them act contrary to the Holy Tradition of the Church.

As to the consequences of this open defiance of an order of Egypt's highest court...we can only wait and pray.




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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2010, 12:29:37 PM »

Here's a news report showing a press conference on the matter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6obpVPQ7OI
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2010, 01:02:55 PM »

The Coptic Orthodox Church forbids second marriages in any circumstance apart from the circumstances in which Scripture deems it permissible: if one of the spouses has committed adultery, died, or apostasised.

It seems that the EO practise is a little more lenient than the Coptic one. Is this a common policy in the Oriental Church?
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2010, 03:26:51 PM »

Is the man involved trying to force the COC to give him a second church wedding? Or is he suing for the right to remarry civily? I'm not sure about Egypt off hand, but in some countries matters such as marriage and divorce are based on the persons religion; the court enforces your religious affiliations rules.

A good case for the seperation of church(and mosque and synagogue etc) and state.
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2010, 03:40:24 PM »

What a monstrosity!  The court should keep its nose out of the Church's business, and the man should seek his marriage elsewhere.  May nothing befall any members of the Coptic Church, least of all Pope Shenouda.

Prayers for Pope Shenouda. Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2010, 03:43:26 PM »

Is the man involved trying to force the COC to give him a second church wedding? Or is he suing for the right to remarry civily? I'm not sure about Egypt off hand, but in some countries matters such as marriage and divorce are based on the persons religion; the court enforces your religious affiliations rules.

A good case for the seperation of church(and mosque and synagogue etc) and state.

Very true. If ecclesiastical marriage and divorce is separate from civil marriage and divorce, then this ruling is simply utterly absurd, no business of the state. If, however, ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage is required for civil divorce and remarriage, this ruling is more than justified. If you have authority granted by the state, the state has a right to regulate your activities in those fields.

But, either way, as you say, the best lesson we can learn from this is the importance of separation of Church and State.
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2010, 03:52:12 PM »

Is the man involved trying to force the COC to give him a second church wedding? Or is he suing for the right to remarry civily? I'm not sure about Egypt off hand, but in some countries matters such as marriage and divorce are based on the persons religion; the court enforces your religious affiliations rules.

A good case for the seperation of church(and mosque and synagogue etc) and state.

Very true. If ecclesiastical marriage and divorce is separate from civil marriage and divorce, then this ruling is simply utterly absurd, no business of the state. If, however, ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage is required for civil divorce and remarriage, this ruling is more than justified. If you have authority granted by the state, the state has a right to regulate your activities in those fields.
The Coptic Church received its authority to marry from the Apostles.  The man is free to apostacize and remarry (many do).  What he is not free to do is do whatever he wants and have the Church bless it.
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2010, 04:14:21 PM »

Is the man involved trying to force the COC to give him a second church wedding? Or is he suing for the right to remarry civily? I'm not sure about Egypt off hand, but in some countries matters such as marriage and divorce are based on the persons religion; the court enforces your religious affiliations rules.

A good case for the seperation of church(and mosque and synagogue etc) and state.

Very true. If ecclesiastical marriage and divorce is separate from civil marriage and divorce, then this ruling is simply utterly absurd, no business of the state. If, however, ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage is required for civil divorce and remarriage, this ruling is more than justified. If you have authority granted by the state, the state has a right to regulate your activities in those fields.
The Coptic Church received its authority to marry from the Apostles.  The man is free to apostacize and remarry (many do).  What he is not free to do is do whatever he wants and have the Church bless it.

IF the church's decisions have the force of law then I would argue that he does indeed have that right.
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2010, 04:56:57 PM »

Is the man involved trying to force the COC to give him a second church wedding? Or is he suing for the right to remarry civily? I'm not sure about Egypt off hand, but in some countries matters such as marriage and divorce are based on the persons religion; the court enforces your religious affiliations rules.

A good case for the seperation of church(and mosque and synagogue etc) and state.

Very true. If ecclesiastical marriage and divorce is separate from civil marriage and divorce, then this ruling is simply utterly absurd, no business of the state. If, however, ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage is required for civil divorce and remarriage, this ruling is more than justified. If you have authority granted by the state, the state has a right to regulate your activities in those fields.
The Coptic Church received its authority to marry from the Apostles.  The man is free to apostacize and remarry (many do).  What he is not free to do is do whatever he wants and have the Church bless it.

IF the church's decisions have the force of law then I would argue that he does indeed have that right.
If he wants to be called an Orthodox Christian, then he has to play by its Church's rules.  As I said, he can apostacize all the way, just not have the Church bless his half way attempt.

I know you disagree, once again proving why the Churches have to be involved in combatting the redefinition of marriage going on by the secular authorities before they impress it on us. Not a private matter.
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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2010, 10:25:10 PM »

Another video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DCrDWleDLo

About halfway through the video, they interview one of the men who went to court.  He says the Church allowed his ex-wife to remarry, but not him.

I don't want to be gossipy (no, wait, that's not true; I'm a horrible gossip,) but could that be because the man here was the one who committed adultery?  In other words, in a situation where divorce is granted because of adultery, is the faithful spouse allowed to remarry, while the adulterous spouse is not?

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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2010, 02:47:51 AM »

I applaud His Most Blessed Beatitude Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria's courageous stance on Christian morality in this case. The Church is not under the control of the Egyptian Government or any secular authority.
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2010, 02:59:18 AM »

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2010, 03:19:06 AM »

It seems Egypt may revise its laws regarding marriage and divorce for Non-Muslims:

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/middle-east/53767-egypt-plans-new-family-law-for-non-muslims.html


Egypt plans new family law for non-Muslims Monday, 14 June 2010 03:13


CAIRO: Egypt will draft a law to govern marriage and divorce for non-Muslims, a state newspaper reported, a move analysts see as an attempt to contain anger after a court overruled the Coptic Orthodox Church last month.

Egypt’s Coptic church has long called for changes to the country’s personal status laws, which say Islamic rules on marriage and divorce prevail except in cases where both husband and wife are non-Muslims and from the same sect.

Under the current law, for instance, a Catholic husband with a Coptic wife could be subject to Islamic law.

“The Egyptian Minister of Justice Mamdouh Marie has decided to form a committee to prepare a personal draft law for Christians and non-Muslims, state-run Al Akhbar newspaper reported, adding it would take 30 days.

Analysts said the announcement was timed to calm anger after a court ruled that two Coptic men were allowed to remarry, challenging the church’s efforts to hold sway over its flock in Muslim-majority Egypt.

The court’s decision drew resistance from Pope Shenouda, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who had appealed against the court’s earlier ruling in March 2008.

Divorce is an accepted practice in Egypt’s Muslim community but is prohibited by the Coptic Orthodox Church except in cases of adultery.

“The latest crisis is behind this statement,” said Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst at the Al Ahram Centre for Strategic and Political Studies in Cairo.

“The Egyptian state is trying to contain the current dispute.”

Coptic lawyer and activist Mamdouh Ramzi said the church has proposed a unified personal law since the 1980s.

“We don’t need a new law, we need to put the old (proposed) one into practice,” he said.

Relations between Muslims and Christians in Egypt are generally calm, but have occasionally turned violent over issues such as land and interfaith marriages.

Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts, make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 78 million people. Many Christians grumble about discrimination, although some have risen to ministerial rank or are top business executives.

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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2010, 12:10:24 AM »

Welcome to the forum!
Thank you very much, my Orthodox brother.  Smiley
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