32394H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy answer to questions about Fr. Matta El-Meskeen
- Jul 25, 2006Q:You said that Sadat caused division in Egypt, and started fundamentalism. And it wasa difficult time but now it has changed. But there is one problem with which did notchange and I think it started recently. I got to know that there is as I heard it a personalconflict 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 andduring a certain period he was the father of confession of Pope Shenouda. But PopeShenouda was revising his books because Pope Shenouda was highly qualified in theseminary while this monk was not. He was in monastic life before Pope Shenouda butPope Shenouda was more qualified theologically than him. His first book was about thelife of prayer and was revised by Pope Shenouda when he was still a layman and ateacher 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 hepublished. He writes things against our teaching so he's causing much trouble for oureducated people who are reading his books and magazines. So the problem with thismonk is his teaching which has many mistakes and is contrary to the teaching of ourchurch. You cannot say that he a liberal theologian but you can say that he is a type ofheretical person. You know what happened in the fifth century between St. Peter ofAlexandria and Nestorius of Constantinopel. So Nestorius was not a liberal theologianbut he was a heretical teacher. So heretical teaching is not always liberal theology butsometimes he is also liberal. But it is not his only problem. I'll give you one exampleabout 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 thehuman nature at that day exactly as it happened in the incarnation of the Son of Godwhen He was born of the virgin Mary. Divinity of humanity was united together. SoJesus 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 humannature. So the incarnation for him magnified that which started in Him in Bethlehem andwas reaching its peak on Pentecost. So this is heretical teaching because he is saying thatany Christian is equal to Jesus Christ the Son of God and we don't accept that. Youcannot see this in the Catholic church, in the Protestant church, nobody can accept this Ithink. 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 thechurch because of terrorism in Egypt, the fundamentalist movement and attacks on thechurches and the Copts and he tried also to apply Islamic sharia in Egypt which we didn'taccept at that time like what happened in the Sudan. So he took the chance and made analliance with Sadat against the church and it was very shameful for him. He lost most ofhis popularity among our people.Q:So what can you do in a case like this? You say he does not belong to the Copticchurch 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 wasover because Sadat was killed one month after what he had done. He couldn't continuehis plans so everything ended but his teaching is still wrong. What we are doing is torespond to his teaching and to spread the correct teaching everywhere by His HolinessPope Shenouda and also our bishops and theologians and priests. We speak openly to thepeople. Another thing is that some of his disciples are repeating his erroneous teaching orgoing into other areas to publish it in magazines. He published his teachings in books, butthey publish in magazines but more detailed. So there can be a trial for his disciples in thechurch. But since he [Father Matta] is an elder, we find it difficult to do more than whatwe are doing now, we find it is enough to officially renounce this. Sometimes we informthe Holy Synod about his erroneous teaching but we don't want to have a confrontationwith him personally but perhaps some of his disciples may be judged by the church.Q:Is this also why his books are not available in churches?Metropolitan Bishoi:Of course, because they have erroneous teaching. It goes againstthe common Christian belief. No wise Christian person would accept that he is equal toJesus Christ. Why are we worshipping Jesus Christ when we are equal to him? It is a madidea! So this is a complete distruction of Christianity. Because how can we be equal tothe Son of God, one of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. That is what Ithink. What is the view of Christianity in front of non-Christians when we say that we areGods like Jesus Christ. They are accusing us that we are heretics because we are speakingabout 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 Sonof God, what can they say if I say that you are God also?Q: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 theseminary and in everywhere in our churches and nobody accepts this, especially bishops.Q:You just said that some of his disciples may face a trial, and that also there are nobishops appointed from the monastery of Makarios?Metropolitan Bishoi:Yes, of course there are some bishops who were in St. MakariosMonastery who came here [in the Monastery of Bishoi]. They transferred and after someyears they became bishops. We have about four of that type, no so many.Q:You took them back also? You welcomed them?Metropolitan Bishoi:Yes.Source:Interview with Metropolitan Bishoi, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the CopticOrthodox Church, November 14, 2002Author (transcribed and edited by): Rick Anderson[Interview conducted by Heike Schmidt, ZDF, German TV].
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