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Talk:Shenouda III (Gayyid) of Alexandria

We have permission to use this material under the terms of your license. God Bless. --arbible (Coptic Orthodox Servant)

It might be that this forum is biased towards the Greek orthodox Church, who despite their official Church position (Ecumenical Patriarchate), still "hate" us like heretics. They are welcome though as a minority Church in Egypt (300,000 vs. >15 million Copts worldwide, incl. >9 millions inside Egypt). The Coptic Church Network of Sites Online (incl. St Takla) have one common goal, to serve our Lord, and one Pope, Abba Shenouda III. God Bless.

1. Who owns the copyright? When did they give permission? Do you own the St. Takla website? This really needs to be explicit, because OrthodoxWiki cannot risk violating copyright law.
2. OrthodoxWiki is explicitly biased in favor of the Chalcedonian Orthodox (see: OrthodoxWiki:Style Manual#Neutrality_and_the_OrthodoxWiki_Bias), but that has nothing to do with attempting to determine the copyright status of a given article.
3. Material about Coptic Orthodoxy is welcome on OrthodoxWiki so long as contributors are willing to abide by the standards in the official Style Manual. I myself am "Greek Orthodox" and do not hate Copts as heretics. I've visited Coptic services on a few occasions and always had a positive experience.
Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:16, 7 Jul 2005 (EDT)

It doesn't belong to St Takla's Church site (which is also a Coptic Orthodox Church in the city of Alexandria under our Pope's full rule). Our Coptic Church releases and updates English/Arabic/French/German biographies of our Pope like this one on different occasions (e.g., HH Silver Jubilee in 1996) and these are free to use/distribute, and already in use, abridged or in full, in many sites, not just the site of St Takla Haymanot's Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt, e.g.,:

I also wanted to add (under Ecumenical Relations): Report About Relations With the Russian Orthodox Church

P.S. Coptic literally means Egyptian/of Egypt.

Thank you! That's most satisfactory. I'm reverting the article back to its former state. In the future, if you're not writing the text yourself, please state its source and the permission granted. Additionally, please tag all the images included in this article appropriately and rename and re-upload them, if necessary. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:36, 7 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Very many thanks+++ May God keep you always well and safe.

Last Names

This has come up a few times on the wiki. We realize that monks technically do not have a last name, although they often retain their last name for "worldly purposes." We're not challenging this tradition! However, because of the multitude of names, it is sometimes helpful to be able to identify someone more precisely, which is where last names come in and why we try to retain them in parens. See the style manual for more detail! — FrJohn (talk)

Bishops and episcopates

I am not sure but i bealive that all modern Patriarchs alreadz were bishops before election. I am sure for His holiness Pavle of Serbia and His holiness Alexiy of Russia. This was not problem in chalcedonian churches for more than 1000 years. I did not know that this is problem in Non-Chalcedonian Churches.

Bishops and episcopates

I am not sure but i bealive that all modern Patriarchs alreadz were bishops before election. I am sure for His holiness Pavle of Serbia and His holiness Alexiy of Russia. This was not problem in chalcedonian churches for more than 1000 years. I did not know that this is problem in Non-Chalcedonian Churches. --Ddpbf 01:53, April 18, 2007 (PDT)

Yes, what you are saying is correct, and the article already states it as a counter-argument: "However, there are also modern day examples from other Churches of patriarchs who were previously bishops before their election as patriarchs, e.g., [1], [2]."
However, in the Coptic Orthodox Church this is still considered non-canonical (against Nicea Canon 15).
So both sides of the arguments are presented in the current version of the article.
--Yours in Christ, --Arbible 08:53, April 18, 2007 (PDT)
Thank you for explinations. I do not know a lot about Coptic Church from 7th chentury. God bless you.--Ddpbf 11:23, April 18, 2007 (PDT)

Regarding His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

My Dear Brother,

First I want to warn you not to believe everything you hear. I would like to know what your sources are and if you claim that all of what you are saying is included in the writings of His Holiness, then I want you to send me the text of what you are speaking about. It is very easy for someone just to claim they heard this from someone they think is a credible source, but to actually check to see whether all of what they told you is true, is a very hard task. If you are able to find all of the sources, then you could justify your claims. Until then, these are 100% unjustified and I'm telling you they are not true. If you are claiming that His Holiness Pope Shenouda III wrote against His Holiness Pope Kyrillos VI in the Keraza magazine, then I would like to know exactly which issue number it is and from what year and I will find it or if you have it then please scan and send me the article where you claim he speaks against him. I am unable to believe what you are saying is true. I'm sure you are very aware there is also a controversy about the concept of Theosis these days. There are many who think that either they will become God or will become one with God exactly as our Lord Jesus Christ but this is not true and this is the only part of the concept of Theosis that His Holiness disagrees with and I'm sure the Eastern Orthodox Church disagrees with those statements as well.

Here is the Coptic Orthodox understanding of Theosis:

"Theosis or Deification means "union with God" taken from the Greek Theos - God, and the word Enosis - union. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked God the Father "They also may be one in us" (Jn 17:21). He also gave us the command of Theosis "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Mt 5:48), our goal in life is to accomplish perfect union with God through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and then sin created a gap between God and mankind, causing damage to our souls. All Christians through baptism receive the seed of Theosis, which is not only to the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and justification, but also a restoration of God's image. The sinful inclination of our human nature should not govern our behavior anymore; instead we should strive to live a holy life looking towards Jesus Christ the author of our faith, and growing in His knowledge and sonship. The restoration and sanctification of Theosis brings us back into relationship with the Creator. St. Athanasius' presentation of Theosis was summarized as "the reintegration of the divine image of man's creation through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit conforming the redeemed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also of the believer's transition from mortality to immortality so that he is enabled to participate in the eternal bliss and glory of the kingdom of God."

Our full union with God is a union with the "energies" of God. These energies, while an extension of God, are not to be confused with the "essence" or "substance" of God, which is unknown by humans and is shared only by the Holy Trinity. Our union with God will not make us gods but will make us partners in the Divine nature in works not in essence. We will not acquire the unique characteristics of God such as being the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, but it will make us partners with Him in building the Kingdom by our own salvation and by winning the souls of others to the Lord Jesus Christ."''

In the page about His Holiness Pope Shenouda III it says, "Books like Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis - Plain Talks on a Major Doctrine of Orthodoxy by the Very Rev. Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris (Edited by D. A. Riewe) would thus be against Pope Shenouda's teachings." - How can you ever make such a statement without first knowing and understand what His Holiness has actually said about the concept of Theosis?

In the beginning of the section it says, "Pope Shenouda III is said to be totally denying the Orthodox concept and doctrine of theosis (even the word/term)". This is a statement that cannot be backed in any way and is just someone stating what they THINK they heard about His Holiness and it doesn't deserve to be on a page about him as though it was factual information!

In that section it also says "Pope Shenouda's longstanding theological disputes with Habib Bebawi, PhD (Cambridge), a renowned Coptic theologian specialising in patristic studies and the late Father Matta El-Meskeen are well known, and many observers have attributed them to personal and ecclesiastico-political motives, rather than to any genuine doctrinal flaws or deviations from Orthodoxy in the writings of Bebawi and Matta." - Dr. Bebawi has been excommunicated from the Coptic Orthodox Church and he is now a member of the Anglican Church and therefore, anything he says or believes does not have anything to do with the Coptic Orthodox Church. Dr. Bebawi also joined the Russian Orthodox Church first before leaving them to join the Anglican Church because they also did not agree with ANY of this teachings, meaning he is clearly NOT Orthodox! If you were to realize that all those against His Holiness are not Orthodox maybe you'd take back your statements. Father Matta had many thoughts that are not Orthodox and His Holiness wrote many books to answer all of the wrong teachings of Father Matta and therefore no one can ever claim that it is just personal problems! It is all VERY well documented in the writings of His Holiness and those of Father Matta. I'm trying to show you here that your statements have no back bone and they are all incorrect and I would like to have them removed immediately!

I hope to hear back from you soon with the sources and proof for what it is you are claiming and I'd also like to know how you are able to protect the document and prevent others from correcting the information because you are not justified in your claims and therefore, you cannot forbid anyone else from making a correction to what you are saying. I hope you understand me because this is a serious matter that I would like resoloved.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Above comment by User:Orthodoxy4everr.

Regarding His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy

What exactly is it about the recording that bothers you? The fact that His Eminence quotes our Lord Jesus Christ when he says those who are not Baptized cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Do you dare to disagree with the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ?!?!

Please explain exactly what it is that you have a problem with because I do not understand. Do you really think that Dr. Bebawi is a credible source for ANY information? Especially after he has been excommunicated from the Coptic Orthodox Church because of heretical teachings. At first he turned to the Russian Orthodox Church but he left them for the Anglican Church many years ago and I have the official document to prove it! Maybe you should try reading what His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy has to say about Dr. Bebawi rather than read what Dr. Bebawi has to say about our Church! You should read these articles before making anymore false accusations: 1

I hope you will correct all the wrong information you have stated here. You are speaking against His Holiness the Pope and a Metropolitan without knowing the TRUTH! Please do some research, read both sides of the issue before you start speaking against Holy men of God! I hope you understand why this situation is really troubling me, it is because everything you are saying is a lie and you clearly have not looked at both sides of this issue and because of everything you have said, you are leading others to believe it is true. You have become a stumbling block to people seeking the truth! I hope you will make the proper corrections soon!

Above comment by User:Orthodoxy4everr.

Replies to Orthodoxy4everr

Your definition of theosis (above), though acceptable, is incomplete, and, I am afraid, contradicts what Pope Shenouda III wrote and said many times about the subject. It is part of the latest 'Official Church' propaganda these days to calm down the ongoing scandals within the Coptic Church, which have reached unprecendented levels during recent months (after the departure of the blessed Fr Matta El-Meskeen in June 2006), and have become a popular subject in the secular, mainstream Egyptian and Arabic newsmedia.

My question to you, dear brother in Christ: Have you read and listened yourself to what Pope Shenouda wrote and said concerning theosis? Did you, for example, listen to his recent weekly, Tuesday lectures in Arabic to Coptic seminarians in Cairo about the subject (delivered in 2007 and all published at Pope Shenouda said (and I am here translating what he said word-by-word) that 'even the word/term theosis is not acceptable, even when the claimed status of theosis is said to be reached through God's Grace'. Can you point us to any properly referenced excerpts from Pope Shenouda's writings or recorded lectures that we can access that mention what you are saying above about theosis?! Have you also read any of his "opponents'" writings about theosis? Did they ever say that theosis makes us gods, in the sense that we become fully equivalent to God almighty?! I can assure you that Fr Matta El-Meskeen, for one, has never made such a claim in any of his writings or sermons. However, it has sadly become the Coptic Church's habit these days to fabricate and falsify (and hide) "evidence" against those she doesn't like (like a 'police state'). They even confiscated copies of an Arabic translation of 'On the Incarnation of the Word' (Athanasius) translated by the Very Rev Fr Markos Dawood, because it mentioned theosis in Chapter 54, Part 3, Pg. 159 - "God became man so that man could become god" (see details at ), which contradicts what the Pope said that 'it is impossible that any of the Fathers could have ever mentioned theosis' (again, translating here what he said word-by-word) - "محال ان يكون احد الآباء نادى بذلك". And how could anyone (even if this is St Athanasius the Great) dare to contradict the Pope, who has now become infallible in the Coptic Church, chosen and installed by God and only speaking God's messages (so, in other words, if you are in disagreement with the Pope, you are automatically against God and will fall under God's wrath, as they say). If you can read Arabic, please refer to the following site for a detailed discussion of Pope Shenouda's position regarding theosis:

We can also give you a long list of concrete examples, properly attributed excerpts, and evidence from both sides of the arguments (not taken out of their context, and without twisting the truth/text to suit our ends like others do). Please also read these Arabic articles about theosis: Metropolitan George Khodr of Mount Lebanon (Eastern Orthodox) Easter sermon this year (April 2007), which includes an exegesis on theosis (caution: Anba Bishoy doesn't like Met. George Khodr and he mentioned this in his recorded talks!) - and also (written by Dr Joseph Faltas), and, if you are interested, please join us at - we have been debating these issues for a long time, and have many prominent active members/theologians like Dr Joseph M Faltas (and even many Coptic bishops and priests on board).

And theosis is just ONE, minor issue (compared to other issues) out of many other serious theological problems in the current Coptic Church teachings (not to mention the many financial and administrative issues, like selling 're-marriage permits' to divorced Copts who can afford to pay, and denying them to tens of thousands of similar cases who are poor, telling them that Christ said no divorce except for adultery - these same Bible verses have no effect when you are friend of a prominent bishop and can pay -- see the Arabic book entitled 'طلاق الاقباط' [published by دار ميريت بالقاهرة in 2006 in Cairo] by the well-known Coptic journalist, Karima Kamal, which includes well-documented cases and statistics).

Please also read: A Brief History of Medieval Western Scholastic Theology and How It Crept into the Coptic Orthodox Church (Arabic): - and (also of interest: )

As for Pope Shenouda's articles in Madares El-Ahad Magazine and El-Keraza during the 50s and 60s of the past century (he was Editor-in-Chief of both, and is still Editor-in-Chief of El-Keraza), you can easily get them from the Franciscans' Library in Cairo, which keeps a complete archive: مكتبة "معهد الآباء الفرنسيسكان للدراسات الشرقية المسيحية" بالموسكي - شارع البِنْداق- القاهرة، We are currently scanning the series and publishing it one by one in arbible - (see also: for previously scanned and published articles in the series). Pope Kyrillos VI had to suspend and send Anba Shenouda back to the monastery for more than a year, after the latter published his famous hostile article series against Pope Kyrillos in the late sixties. In fact, Pope Kyrillos used to call El-Keraza Magazine 'El-Kazara', which in Arabic means 'dirt' or 'filth'.

The persecution of members of the clergy (priests and bishops), who either (1) are very knowledgeable, with higher degrees/doctorates in theology from Greece or Europe (cause none of the current top Coptic hierarchy has received similar education or degrees, and Pope Shenouda ordered to stop sending our students to study in Eastern Orthodox seminaries abroad in Greece and elsewhere), (2) become popular internationally/in other Churches (e.g., have books published by SVS Press, USA ;-) or among the Coptic laity because of their sermons or writings, and/or (3) dare to disagree on any matter with the current Church hierarchy, has also reached unprecedented levels during the papacy of Pope Shenouda III and his right-hand iron man, Anba Bishoy. During the past few decades, hundreds of priests, monks, and bishops have been unfairly deposed, named and shamed in the public media (through paid adverts by the Church), and not even allowed/given the chance to defend themselves. Others, though not officially deposed, suffered sustained, organised attacks against them and their reputation, with false accusations/labelling them as 'heretics' by the Coptic hierarchy in various Coptic/Church media outlets that are under the hierarchy's full control, in books and newspapers, in TV interviews (local, Arabic and international*), at conferences, and in lectures and sermons. Many died in sorrow and bitterness, like the late Bishop Gregorios, General Bishop of Coptic Orthodox Studies and Research, who also had a PhD from England and was ordained by the late Pope Kyrillos VI. (*For example, the famous interview with Metropolitan Bishoy on November 14, 2002, by Heike Schmidt, ZDF, German TV, which was almost fully dedicated to attacking Fr Matta El-Meskeen and labelling him as heretic and traitor of the Church.)

The recorded tape of Anba Bishoy in which he mentions that Catholics and Protestants won't enter the Kingdom of God (this is an exact word-by-word translation from Arabic of what he said) and in which he also mocks two Catholic saints (mentioned by name in his tape), has been misrepresented by you in your reply above as being a tape by Anba Bishoy in which he explains how those who are not baptised will not inherit the Kingdom of God (while the tape in question has nothing to do with baptism, and doesn't even mention it-- it clearly and explicitly mentions Catholics and Protestants)! Had the tape been false, the Catholic Church in Egypt wouldn't have officially protested against it in March 2007. Please listen again to the tape if you have ever listened to it before (I hope you can understand Arabic): - It is also available in video and for downloading from the conference pages at the official Coptic Orthodox Diocese of El-Fayoum Web site ( - also mirrored in Internet Archive). Also noteworthy is the well-know fact that Metropolitan Bishoy's sister has converted to Islam and is now married to an Egyptian Muslim and they have Muslim children.

Style: We say 'is said to' because part of our policy is not to be involved in debates. It's not us (as OrthodoxWiki) who are accusing Pope Shenouda or Met. Bishoy; it's other parties involved in the conflict, hence the use of 'is said to' and 'would thus contradict'.

Yours in Christ, --arbible

P.S. See this audio recording of Pope Shenouda III about theosis dated 15 Dec 1998:

Yours in Christ, --Arbible 05:10, May 6, 2007 (PDT)

record by pope Shenoda III about theosis

في التسجيل المرفق للانبا شنوده في محاضره بتاريخ 15/12/98حول موضوع "تاليه الانسان " و يتعرض الي النقاط التالية:

1رفض مصطلح "تاليه الانسان" و اعتبار انه تشبه بالملاك الذي اشتهي ان يكون  مثل الله

2 كلمه ثيؤسيس اليونانيه (theosis) لا تعني لغوياً تاليه الانسان

3 يرى قداسته ان من يقولون ب "تاله طبيعة المسيح البشريه" , ينادون بتحول الطبيعه البشريه الي الهيه كالاوطاخية

4 ان قول اثناسيوس الرسولي "صار الله انسانا لنصير الهه" ليس دقيقاً و الادق هو "لقد صار الله ابنا للانسان ليكون الانسان ابناً لله"

5 التاله يعني ان يتحول المخلوق الي خالق , و من الطبيعه البشريه الي طبيعه الهيه .

6 ان حلول الروح القدس في يوم الخمسين لم يكن اتحادا لطبيعه بشريه بطبيعه الهيه, بل كان لاعطاء مواهب .

7 ان الاب متي المسكين عندما قال ان حلول الروح القدس هو اتحاد طبيعه بشريه بطبيعه الهيه . هو حلول اقنومي

8 عندما اراد ان يقول جزء من كتاب العنصرة للاب متي المسكين .. استاذن اذان الحاضرين الطاهرة


Above comment in Arabic is by User:Mark.j presenting the content of the audio tape of Pope Shenouda about theosis.

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