Only 3 months late, I have just now received word of the resolutions and decrees of the past Holy Synod Session which convened on June 6, 2009. Below is a news post from the Lacopts.org website with a brief summary of the resolutions.
On June 6, 2009, the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church convened on the Glorious Feast of Pentecost to discuss several important issues in the life of the church and its faithful.
The attached file, compiled by Fr. Youhanna Mouris, contains an explanation of all of the Holy Synod’s decrees in Arabic and English.
English Text of the Summary
The Holy Synod headed by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III in its session on June 6, 2009. agreed on the recommendations of the following Commissions:
Commission on Faith and Education
- Banning all closed and private meetings at any Coptic Orthodox Church as these meetings could be used to disseminate false teachings against the Orthodox faith.
- Banning spiritual or educational meetings about faith or Bible study or the like at home, except with a written permission that is clear and of specific objective from HG the Bishop of the diocese.
- His Holiness the Pope asked that, their Grace the Bishops are warned against ordaining priests without ascertaining their sound Orthodox faith and ensuring that they are not affected by the Protestant and Pentecostal infiltration attempts.
- Activating and expanding of the membership all the disciplines of the Religious Books’ Audit Committee that were previously approved and formed by the Holy Synod, and the announcement of that in various ways in order to limit the spread of books that are not sound in terms of the education of the Christian Orthodox faith.
- The film “Christ and the other” by Fayez Ghali has been reviewed and found that it does not agree with the texts of Bible and our Orthodox faith and it includes fictional and inappropriate scenes that are not consistent with the teachings of Christ and the texts of the Bible. These matters have been reported to the Oversight Committee on the Artistic Works. The Commission on Faith, Education and Legislation stresses the importance of the follow-up on this matter, in order to stop any material that offends the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Family, as well as the sacred texts of the Bible and Christian teachings.
Commission on the Dioceses’ Affairs
- Regarding the medical examination before marriage: Do not bring up the examination of semen for young people or the external genital examination of the girls or anything that could cause embarrassment to both parties.
Commission on the Monasteries’ Affairs
- Recognition of Anba Shenouda Monastery of Sydney – Australia
- Recognition of Anba Antonios Monastery of Melbourne, Victoria – Australia Commission on Satellite Channels 1. Their Grace the Bishops and Their Reverent the Priests to decline the participation in non- Orthodox Christian channels and those that are not subject to the supervision of the church.
Commission on Rituals’ Affairs
- Anyone of priesthood ranks is forbidden to pray special prayers aloud during the holy liturgy, except as indicated in the audible and inaudible liturgy prayers.
- Regarding the Synaxarium on The Assumption of the Body of the Holy Virgin St. Mary:
- Delete the insults against Pope Theophilos (23), and St. Epiphanius the Archbishop of Cyprus and against Queen Odoxia from the book of “Defnar”.
- Correct as stated in the issuance in the “A Guide to (Dallal) the Holy Week” (the issuance of Anba Takla Church, the St. Mina Monastery, and St. George Church in Sporting, and others) regarding Isaiah 53: 10, in the prophecies of the Eleventh Hour of the Great Thursday and Sixth Hour of the Great Friday, as follows: “the Lord wanted to heal Him of the wounds and if you offer yourself a sacrifice for sin you will see a harvest of many blessings” Following is the recommended text to be published in the Dallal: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53: 10).
- If the feast of the Entry of Jesus Christ into the land of Egypt comes during the Holy Fifty Days, the readings of the Holy Fifty Days are read as usual, the responses of both Resurrection and Entry of Christ into the land of Egypt are chanted, and that this blessed feast is referred to in the sermon.
- Regarding the Prostration Prayers, the first Prostration Prayer is prayed in joyful tune; the second prayer starts in joyful tune then turns to annual tune starting with the gospel response; the third prayers is prayed in annual tune.
Delete the following lines from the currently used Synaxarium:
[They saw her sitting on the right hand of her Son and her Lord, surrounded by the angelic Host, as David prophesied and said, “At your right hand stands the queen.” (Psalm 45:9)].
Also, delete the following text:
[She spent twelve years of them in the temple, thirty years in the house of the righteous St. Joseph, and fourteen years in the care of St. John the Evangelist, as the Lord commanded her saying, “Woman behold your Son,” and to St. John, “Behold your Mother.”]
And replace it with the sentence: “St. Mary’s life on earth was sixty years”.
Add the underlined words in the following text:
“St. Thomas was absent at the time of St. Mary’s departure, but he came after the burial. On his way back from India to Jerusalem, St. Thomas saw in a vision angels carrying St. Mary’s pure body and ascending with it to heaven.”