Coptic pope slams maverick cleric
- Coptic pope slams maverick cleric
Mon Jul 24, 8:28 AM ET
The head of Egypt's Coptic Church has issued a stern warning to
dissident bishop Maximus I and anyone who might be tempted to join
the breakaway church he is trying to set up.
"We do not recognise your prelacy nor your new name," Pope Shenuda
III said in a message entitled "I am sorry for you, my son" and
addressed to Maximus, whose real name is Max Michel on Monday.
"We warn you against celebrating any sacrament, we consider the
religious enterprise you are undertaking completely void and we warn
the people against dealing with you," said the pope, whose message
was quoted by the official MENA news agency.
Maximus, who was ordained by the Old Calendarists -- a traditionalist
Greek Orthodox group based in Nebraska -- has angered Shenuda by
announcing plans to set up a rival church and speaking in favour of
facilitating divorce and allowing bishops to marry.
Maximus also charged that Shenuda's 35-year-old pontificate had been
disastrous and accused the Coptic leader of inciting sectarian
violence in Egypt.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has so far said that he does not
wish to intervene in the affairs of the church.
Copts make up between six and 10 percent of Egypt's 73 million
population and are the largest Christian community in the Middle East.