New rulings set by the Coptic Orthodox Church monastic committee have stirred widespread controversy among American Copts, after the committee set a deadline for unrecognized monasteries to legalize their status and register with the patriarchate, so as to be under the spiritual submission of the Pope’s representative.
The Coptic Diocese of Pennsylvania warned its affiliated members along America’s east coast against visiting the yet-unregistered St. John the Beloved Patmos Monastery in Canadensis, as the committee explicitly forbade visiting any monasteries unrecognized by the Patriarchate.
The Diocese stressed the need for the priests and Copts to abide by the decisions of the Monastic Affairs Committee of the Holy Synod, under the chairmanship of Pope Tawadros II.
In his statement, he also warned of engaging in any financial dealings or projects with St. John monks, or providing them any donations as they would not be subject to the direct spiritual supervision of the Mother Church.
St. John the Beloved Patmos Monastery is not a monastery in the conventional sense. It describes itself as the “spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Aghapy TV channel, the first satellite channel for the Coptic Orthodox Church”.
It responded that the establishment of St. John dated back over seven years in accordance with US law, as well as the spiritual and patriarchal approach of the Coptic Church.
The center criticized the Coptic leadership for prompting a dispute through media and social networking websites, rather than approaching the issue privately between the center and the Coptic Church.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm.