Statement of the Diocese of the Southern United States
The Diocese of the Southern United States, under H.G. Anba Youssef, has issued "A Declaration from the SUS Clergical Committee" and an article, "Can a Diocesean Bishop be Nominated for the Papacy?" in Arabic.
A translation of the article into English follows:
CAN A BISHOP BE PROMOTED TO THE PATRIARCHATE?
A WELL RESEARCHED ARTICLE BY H.G. BISHOP YOUSEF
A Statement from the Diocese of Alexandria to the Members of the Holy Synod, the General Council of Denominational Affairs, and the Organization of Coptic Endowments
The Diocese of Alexandria is the Diocese of Saint Mark, the Evangelizer of the Land of Egypt. On this basis, the Diocese acquired the honour of granting the titles “Pope” and “Patriarch” to her Bishop, who is advanced in honour amongst his brethren, the Diocesan Bishops.
We, the people of Alexandria, request to participate in the elections. As the late Pope Shenouda used to say, “It is the right of the people to choose their shepherd.” Therefore, to us, the Pope is our Bishop, and so we request to join the list of voters.
As the Bishops of other dioceses are chosen from amongst the monastic fathers – who are not greedy for authority, nor do they vie for any position – the people of Alexandria ask and demand that their Bishop, who is the Pope and Patriarch, be from amongst the monastic fathers whose ranks do not exceed that of a Hegoumen. This is on the principle of equality, and out of respect to the ecclesial traditions, which were established over the ages, from the fourth century A.D., when the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea was convened in the year A.D. 325. It has not occurred in our Coptic Church – throughout the ages – to install a Bishop over any diocese from amongst the Fathers the Bishops.
We, as a people who love their Church and uphold Her traditions, respect and value all the Fathers the Metropolitans and Bishops. However, and at the same time, we ask of them to steer away from being nominated to the Papal Throne, because it is dedicated to one of the monastic fathers, and it is not proper to violate this truth. Just as there is no repetition of Baptism, and no repetition to the laying on of hands.
The people of Alexandria are looking forward to the Rite of the Ordination of the Pope and Patriarch, and not to a celebration of an elevation. We ask and entreat Thy Goodness, O Lover of Mankind, bring forth to us a good monastic shepherd who will shepherd Thy people in purity and righteousness.
From the Diocese of Alexandria