Statement by the Coptic Orthdox Church
Besides Egypt, there are a significant number of Coptic Orthodox in the
USA, as well as many other places throughout the world.
Published by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church
September 3, 2003
Declarations Regarding Homosexuality, Same-Sex Marriage and Ordination of Homosexuals
On Wednesday morning, September 3rd, 2003, the Holy Synod of the Coptic
Orthodox Church, headed by H.H. Pope Shenouda III, held a special meeting
at St. Anthony Church in the Papal Residence at Anba Rewis in Cairo
to discuss the actions of some Western churches trying to legalize
homosexuality, same-sex marriage, the ordination of homosexuals in
different pastoral degrees, and the decision to ordain a homosexual bishop
in the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire, USA. The Holy Synod unanimously
agreed to strongly condemn these acts that violate the teachings of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and the Old and New Testament Scriptures. This is
in compliance to our responsibility to witness to the universal truth
of the Gospel.
Jesus Christ condemned homosexuality in an explicit way, when He
spoke about the devastation of Sodom & Gomorrah (Luke 10:12). See
also (Gen. 19:24 - Jud. 7). The Holy Bible warns also saying: “Do
not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
nor homosexuals, nor Sodomites, nor thieves… will inherit the Kingdom
of God” (1Cor. 6:9,10). See also (Rom. 1:26-32), and what is mentioned
in Old Testament: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth a woman,
both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to
death; their blood shall be upon them” (Lev. 8:22 -Lev. 20:13).
Same - sex marriage is against the Divine plan for marriage and
its purpose of procreation: “But from the beginning of the creation,
God made them male and female, for this reason a man shall leave his
father and mother, and be joined to his wife” (Mk. 10:6,7). See also
(Matt. 19:4-6, Eph. 5:31, Gen. 1:27, Gen. 2:24).
Those who are ordained for Church ministry must uphold the teachings
of the Holy Bible. “The bishop must be blameless… of good behavior.. able
to teach” (1Tim. 3:2).
Consequently, we disapprove and condemn strongly the same - sex marriage
generally, and the ordination of homosexuals, which is more erroneous,
and more dangerous.
The Holy Synod declares:
That these movements contradict the teachings of the Holy Bible,
and threaten the stability of natural marriage, the nature of forming a
family, the morals of the society, the purity of the Church, the future
of the efforts towards Christian unity, and the Ecumenical movements.
Those who rely on the chains of human rights to encourage
homosexuality, neglect the fact that it is not the right of any person to
spoil himself or the other. Real freedom does not ruin the human nature,
nor contradict with the Divine Commandments, morals, and general ethics.
We applaud the courageous voices, in and outside those Churches, which
oppose Homosexuality, Same - Sex Marriage, ordination of Homosexuals in
We call these Churches to obey the Biblical Teachings without compromise
or change. The members of these Churches have no right to vote on the
Biblical Divine Commandments.
This abnormal conduct is a stumbling block for other people,
bad example and fame, and dangerous for the future of these Churches
themselves leading to divisions and disintegration.
While we condemn homosexuality, we invite those who are under this
sin to repent out of concern for their eternal life.
Our Holy Synod decided to publish this statement on all possible Media
inside and outside Egypt, and to send it to all Ecumenical Councils, such
as the World Council of Churches, the Middle East Council of Churches,
The Councils of America, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa.
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