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Highlights of the May 2015 Decrees of the Holy Synod

In the week before the Holy Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church and its subcommittees convened to discuss various issues facing the Church. A summary of all the decrees may be found at CopticWorld via this link.

Some notable highlights:

The Resurrection Reenactment

In the Rite of the Divine Liturgy for the Glorious Feast of our Lord’s Resurrection, there is a “Resurrection Reenactment” in which the curtain of the Holy Altar is closed, the lights of the church are turned off, and a reenactment of our Lord entering into Hades and resurrecting from the dead takes place. Sadly, some people with good intentions have taken artistic license and added special effects, like strobe lights, drums, etc. to enhance the Reenactment.

The Holy Synod teaches us, however, that absolutely no special effects of sound or light are needed to experience the beauty of this rite. For this reason, the following decree was handed down this year:

Churches are obligated to follow the usual rituals of the Resurrection Re-enacting without the use of any special effects of sound, light, 3D, special theatrical effects or fog, etc.

Premarital Counseling

The Holy Synod also encouraged every couple who is to be married in the Coptic Orthodox Church to complete a full course of premarital counseling with their father confessors or Orthodox counselors. Thank God, our Diocese has many such opportunities available throughout the parishes.

Misquoting St. Pope Kyrillos VI

The Holy Synod also warned against a new crop of books being published that blatantly misquote St. Pope Kyrillos as saying things like, “I received Communion before the world was created” and “Repentance is not needed to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.” Anyone who has had any experience or knowledge of the life of St. Pope Kyrillos knows that he cannot have said any such thing, and so caution is urged when purchasing such books. Churches and monasteries are required to dispose of any book that misquotes this holy saint.

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

June 1, 2015