A question of authority

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jukesk9

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I was on a Coptic Orthodox site and I was reading that their first pope was St. Mark.  Does the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church hold a symbolic office (as the Archbishop of Canterbury does) or does he have authority like the Bishop of Rome does? 
 

Gideon4God

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Today at 02:48 PM jukesk9 said this in Post #1

I was on a Coptic Orthodox site and I was reading that their first pope was St. Mark.  Does the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church hold a symbolic office (as the Archbishop of Canterbury does) or does he have authority like the Bishop of Rome does? 

It looks like he is a "Pope" like that of the Latin church, but CopticOrthodox wrote that he isn't.  He is a Bishop amoung Bishops.  Many of the old sees head Bishops used the title 'PaPa" and latter Rome used the title. 
 
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CopticOrthodox

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Alexandria was a very important see in the early Church. It was a major center for Christian thought, with the first seminary. It was the first see where the bishop couldn't handle everything, he had to ordain bishops under him to help him. At the time the title for a bishop was "Father" so this bishop became a Father or Fathers, or in Greek, Papa Abba, or in English, Pope. This was long before the Church of Rome became large enough to develop this kind of hierarchy, but when they did they decided that only they should be called Pope. Communion had already been broken at that time.

Pope Shenouda has no authority over the other Churches making up the Oriental Orthodox Communion, so he does not have power like that of the Pope of Rome. (We also do not believe him to be infallible).

I'm not that familiar with the set up in the Anglican Church, but if his is just a primacy of honour, no, it's more than that for us. All the bishops and one archpriest make up the Holy Synod, which is headed by Pope Shenouda. He has no authority to proclaim new doctrines, but he does govern the Church. He has authority, and is to be obeyed by all the bishops, priests, and faithful. But there are procedures in place for removing a Pope if they are found unfit. That was done once not to long ago, and in that case three bishops are selected to rule until the Pope departs at which time a new Pope can be elected.

Pope Shenouda is the 117th Pope in an unbroken succession from St. Mark, who we count as our first Pope.
 
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CopticOrthodox

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I don't know if he'd get away with setting any new fasts. In theory he could, but I think people would complain about more than 2/3 of the year. It is our ancient tradition to select monks to serve as preists for the monastaries, and to select worthy members of a congregation to serve their congregations as preists. There's no seminary, only 40 days of fasting and training after ordination. Those who are already worthy are selected. So making a rule for priests to be celibate would run against many centuries of tradition, and require changes to the fundamental way our Church works. So while I'm no expert, that seems to me set in stone and outside the realm of changable things.

Some things he's said are that he will not consecrate a Church unless the baptistry is in the North-West corner, and all the icons are proper, down to details like St. Mary must have a crown, and Judas must not be present in the Last Supper icon, etc. He has the final say on all priest transfers (which are not normal occurances to us), etc. Basically if he says to do something, you do it. He has written over a hundred books, explaining theology and spirituality in a way that's understandable to the laity, he visits all parts of the world, consecrating every Church, ordaining every priest, so that everyone feels like he is their father. If anyone deviates from the Orthodox faith, or commits wrong practices he gives correction with authority.

For examples of him correcting against wrong teaching, go to www.copticpope.org, click on articles, english, article 6 or his books here http://www.suscopticdiocese.org/stmaryatlanta/links.htm
 
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