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32394H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy answer to questions about Fr. Matta El-Meskeen

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  • arbible
    Jul 25, 2006
      You said that Sadat caused division in Egypt, and started fundamentalism. And it was
      a difficult time but now it has changed. But there is one problem with which did not
      change and I think it started recently. I got to know that there is as I heard it a personal
      conflict between one of the monks of the Makarios monastery and Papa Shenouda.
      Metropolitan Bishoi:
      Yes, Father Matta El-Miskeen is a very famous monk in Egypt and
      during a certain period he was the father of confession of Pope Shenouda. But Pope
      Shenouda was revising his books because Pope Shenouda was highly qualified in the
      seminary while this monk was not. He was in monastic life before Pope Shenouda but
      Pope Shenouda was more qualified theologically than him. His first book was about the
      life of prayer and was revised by Pope Shenouda when he was still a layman and a
      teacher in the seminary. Now this monk who was not educated in a theological school,
      read many books and began writing strange doctrines from whatever he read, which he
      published. He writes things against our teaching so he's causing much trouble for our
      educated people who are reading his books and magazines. So the problem with this
      monk is his teaching which has many mistakes and is contrary to the teaching of our
      church. You cannot say that he a liberal theologian but you can say that he is a type of
      heretical person. You know what happened in the fifth century between St. Peter of
      Alexandria and Nestorius of Constantinopel. So Nestorius was not a liberal theologian
      but he was a heretical teacher. So heretical teaching is not always liberal theology but
      sometimes he is also liberal. But it is not his only problem. I'll give you one example
      about his teaching. He says that on Pentecost fifty days after the resurrection of our Lord,
      the Holy Spirit came on the church. He says the divine nature of God was united to the
      human nature at that day exactly as it happened in the incarnation of the Son of God
      when He was born of the virgin Mary. Divinity of humanity was united together. So
      Jesus Christ is God who became man, but how can I say that St. Peter or St. Paul or St.
      John, became the same as Jesus Christ on Pentecost? Divine nature united to human
      nature. So the incarnation for him magnified that which started in Him in Bethlehem and
      was reaching its peak on Pentecost. So this is heretical teaching because he is saying that
      any Christian is equal to Jesus Christ the Son of God and we don't accept that. You
      cannot see this in the Catholic church, in the Protestant church, nobody can accept this I
      think. So we are having a problem with this person because of his erroneous teaching.
      At the time of Sadat he tried to take advantage of the opposition between Sadat and the
      church because of terrorism in Egypt, the fundamentalist movement and attacks on the
      churches and the Copts and he tried also to apply Islamic sharia in Egypt which we didn't
      accept at that time like what happened in the Sudan. So he took the chance and made an
      alliance with Sadat against the church and it was very shameful for him. He lost most of
      his popularity among our people.
      So what can you do in a case like this? You say he does not belong to the Coptic
      church from what he is saying. Is there anything you can do in this situation?
      Metropolitan Bishoi:
      We responded to his teaching. What he has done with Sadat was
      over because Sadat was killed one month after what he had done. He couldn't continue
      his plans so everything ended but his teaching is still wrong. What we are doing is to
      respond to his teaching and to spread the correct teaching everywhere by His Holiness
      Pope Shenouda and also our bishops and theologians and priests. We speak openly to the
      people. Another thing is that some of his disciples are repeating his erroneous teaching or
      going into other areas to publish it in magazines. He published his teachings in books, but
      they publish in magazines but more detailed. So there can be a trial for his disciples in the
      church. But since he [Father Matta] is an elder, we find it difficult to do more than what
      we are doing now, we find it is enough to officially renounce this. Sometimes we inform
      the Holy Synod about his erroneous teaching but we don't want to have a confrontation
      with him personally but perhaps some of his disciples may be judged by the church.
      Is this also why his books are not available in churches?
      Metropolitan Bishoi:
      Of course, because they have erroneous teaching. It goes against
      the common Christian belief. No wise Christian person would accept that he is equal to
      Jesus Christ. Why are we worshipping Jesus Christ when we are equal to him? It is a mad
      idea! So this is a complete distruction of Christianity. Because how can we be equal to
      the Son of God, one of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. That is what I
      think. What is the view of Christianity in front of non-Christians when we say that we are
      Gods like Jesus Christ. They are accusing us that we are heretics because we are speaking
      about a God who became Man. But now what will they say about man who became god?
      If you are heretical because you believe that Jesus Christ is God, who is the eternal Son
      of God, what can they say if I say that you are God also?
      So this was all the discussed by the Holy Synod?
      Metropolitan Bishoi:
      It is not yet discussed in the Holy Synod but it is discussed in the
      seminary and in everywhere in our churches and nobody accepts this, especially bishops.
      You just said that some of his disciples may face a trial, and that also there are no
      bishops appointed from the monastery of Makarios?
      Metropolitan Bishoi:
      Yes, of course there are some bishops who were in St. Makarios
      Monastery who came here [in the Monastery of Bishoi]. They transferred and after some
      years they became bishops. We have about four of that type, no so many.
      You took them back also? You welcomed them?
      Metropolitan Bishoi:
      Interview with Metropolitan Bishoi, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic
      Orthodox Church, November 14, 2002
      Author (transcribed and edited by): Rick Anderson
      [Interview conducted by Heike Schmidt, ZDF, German TV].

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