The Monastic and Monastic Affairs Committee of the Holy Synod, under the chairmanship of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and in the presence of H.G. Bishop Daniel, General Secretary of the Holy Synod, and 19 of our fathers, the Metropolitans and Bishops, held a special session to discuss the discipline of monastic life in the light of the painful incident and the martyrdom of His Grace Bishop Epiphanius. After prayer and extensive discussions, the following twelve decrees were issued:
Decisions of the Synodal Committee for Monasticism & Monasteries Affairs – August 2, 2018
- To cease ordaining or accepting novices into monasticism in all Coptic Orthodox Monasteries/Convents within Egypt for one year, effective August 2018.
- Anyone who has established a monastery without the approval of the Patriarchate will be stripped of their rank, either monks or priests, and it will be announced publicly. Also, approval for any new monasteries/convents will not be granted unless for reviving ancient monasteries, while being guided and under the care of a recognized monastery/convent.
- To determine the number of monks/nuns each monastery/convent can accommodate considering its conditions and capabilities, and not exceeding this number to ensure regulating and improving the monastic life.
- To cease ordaining monks into the priesthood ranks (Presbyter & Hegumen) for three years.
- To ban all laymen from attending monks’/nuns’ ordinations to keep the reverence and the essence of true monasticism.
- The monasteries/convents to receive trips and visits throughout the year except during the Advent Fast and Great Lent in which visits are only allowed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, while warning against visiting unrecognized locations, which is the responsibility of each diocese and church.
- To focus and care for the monastic life of monks/nuns and their dedication to their eternal life for which they chose to leave [the world] and never return.
- Any monk/nun who does any of the following will risk being investigated and stripped of his/her monastic or priesthood rank, and it will be announced publicly:
- Appearance in media in any way, shape or form
- Involvement in any financial dealings or projects without delegation from the monastery/convent
- Presence outside the monastery/convent without justification, and leaving with prior permission from the Abbot/Abbess.
- To not permit monks/nuns to attend Crowning Ceremonies or Funerals except through permission from the Abbot/Abbess to a maximum of two monks/nuns [at once].
- To give monks/nuns one month to shut down all social media pages and/or accounts and to refrain willingly from participation in any such behavior, which is unfitting to the monastic life, lest the Church takes measures against them.
- To appeal to all Copts to not engage in any financial dealings or projects with monks or nuns, and to avoid presenting any individual or financial donations except through the monastery/convent leadership or those who represent it.
- Activation of the Guide for Monasticism & Managing the Monastic Life that was established by the holy Synod in June 2013, which is the responsibility of the monastery/convent leadership
His Holiness ratified all these decisions to be decrees, being the Head of the Coptic Orthodox Monasteries.