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December 18, 2013

coptic wedding crowns 

From January 1, 2014 all Coptic couple intending to marry soon will have to attend a Marital Preparation Programme set up by the Coptic Church before they are allowed the sacred ceremony of marriage and a certificate issued for it. The move, which is long overdue, has been announced by Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic Patriarch, on May 8, 2013, undoubtedly backed by the Holy Synod. Pope Tawadros II, in his announcement, gives the mounting marital disputes within the Copts as a reason for the edict.

This must be very welcome by everyone who believes in the sanctity of Christian marriage. The rate of marital conflict between husband and wife, often leading to separation or divorce, with devastating effects on children, is unprecedented. One can see this Coptic family-ripping growing disaster in Egypt and the Diaspora countries, whether in Sudan, the US, Australia, UK, France, Germany, or else. The presence of the welfare state in some of the latter countries has eased divorce.

Coptic marriage has always been looked at as a sacred mystery that involves not man and woman alone but God too. It is based on monogamy, lasting commitment, restriction of divorce except in exceptional circumstances, love and respect between the couple and family values that put, inter alia, the children’s interest at its heart. It is not a simple contract between man and woman that can be dissolved at will, and for whatever reason. This proves to be difficult to many couples who are newly-wed, and, often with the slightest disagreement, they forget their vows and responsibilities, and cracks start appearing in their family institution. Copts are being put under a lot of influence from the outside, and with increasing dilution of their values, they submit to practices that were previously shunned at within Coptic society.

It is hoped that the new pre-marital course set up by the Coptic Church will at least lessen conflict and divorce between married couples by reemphasising the importance of marriage, the sacred lasting union that is undissolvable except in exceptional circumstances, the unselfishness of the institution, the importance of children in it; and, at the same time, train the couple in matters that should prepare them to understand better about monetary matters, proper child rearing and education, and sexual and physical child protection issues. A lot of marriages founder because of infidelity, disrespect, failure to share body and life, poor understanding of the importance of sex in marital life, lack of communication, inability to resolve emerging conflicts, and poor budgeting.

Pre-marital courses that attend to these issues are not an invention – they have been set up by other churches for some time now with positive results. We do hope that our Church does not rush such important programme and ill-prepare for it. The courses must be structured with an agreed curriculum that encompasses all these issues. Further, the people who will deliver it must be first trained and selected from persons who are respected within the community.  At least it should include, in addition to the priest and a deacon, an experienced married couple who are known to have a successful marital life, and an individual, possibly a psychologist, who could give varied advice on monetary, psychological, sexual, educational and child protection issues.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2013 9:36 pm

    This icon of the Wedding at Cana was written by the Neo-Coptic master iconographer, the late Prof.Isaac Fanous.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      December 19, 2013 9:47 pm

      Thank you very much for clarifying this. Dioscorus

  2. Michael Gleason permalink
    June 10, 2014 4:08 am

    I’m still praying that the Coptic Synod and clergy will return to teaching the long proven patriarchal/apostolic scriptural principles of gender and family order and relationships that were last sincerely espoused and explained to Copts by Pope Kyrillos VI and Bishop Gregorios. How can any faithful nation or church have substance without fostering families based upon this God created order?

    The Coptic feminists’ and modern psycho-medical industry’s promotion of divorce encouraging innovations and omissions have been taught and promoted by the Department of Youth and the Los Angeles and Southern U. S. dioceses for the past twenty years – and have greatly increased the numbers of Coptic divorces and Coptic fatherless children. More and more detrimental Coptic divorce “counseling” and legal fees are loaded on the backs of the resulting desperate childless Coptic fathers. This threatens to disorder, compromise and confuse every U. S. Coptic family and child. It has also increased “counseling” income for the rapidly increasing numbers of secular trained Coptic counseling psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors. The scriptural gender and family rules have produced united families and communities, of all beliefs, for thousands of years before Dr. Freud enjoyed his first cocaine induced demonic inspiration.

    It is long past the reasonable time for our modern medicine indoctrinated Coptic bishops to remove their psycho-medical professional colleagues off of the Coptic divorce dole, to re-learn, and to teach the Apostolic Christian gender and family codes of our Holy Fathers and Mothers, to Coptic men, women and children. Then Coptic families will again be united, strengthened, and admired, in the face all challenges.

    The politically motivated (anti-) “family” welfare programs in the U. S. have justified several immigrant Coptic women to divorce in order to gain feminist/welfare allies against their husbands’ efforts to lead and support their own family. Several advantageous “perks” (including legally enforced biased child custody and seemingly generous child support) are guaranteed to wives who initiate divorce. Even the simplest U. S. fathers will not entrap themselves and their family in this divorce morass unless their wife is grossly intolerable. Without the support of the Church’s teaching of the traditional scriptural family unity principles, no one knows the fundamental rules of Coptic marriage – if there now are any such rules – except to shop, have fun, be happy. The only hope to secure that U. S. children are not made fatherless by their mother’s divorce is to execute a legally binding mutual pre-marriage contract that formalizes, and provides for court enforcement of the promises that are exchanged in the Coptic marriage liturgy. The informal spoken promises are not enforceable in this life, especially if the Church does not clearly and fully teach the scriptural and patristic foundations for the provisions of the Coptic Marriage Liturgy.

    My understanding of “other churches’” actual results with non-scriptural/ professional pre-marital courses indicates that nearly all popular U. S. Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox (except ROCOR) churches have recently achieved divorce (and remarriage – recently even homosexual union) rates that are reasonably related to that of the general U. S. population. This has produced a financial boom in the “psychological ‘christian marriage,’ divorce and remarriage” counseling related businesses. All of the increased costs of divided families is also good for the struggling U. S. economy and Walmart. Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Cor. 15:33.

  3. Michael Gleason permalink
    June 26, 2017 1:45 pm

    Excuse my editing incompetence. The above comment is in reply to the following comment by “nope.”


    in response to Michael Gleason:

    I’m still praying that the Coptic Synod and clergy will return to teaching the long proven patriarchal/apostolic scriptural principles of gender and family order and relationships that were last sincerely espoused and explained to Copts by Pope Kyrillos VI and Bishop Gregorios. How can any faithful nation or church have substance without fostering families based … Continue reading THE COPTIC CHURCH INTRODUCES MARITAL PREPARATION PROGRAMME

    down with the patriarchy

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