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Frequently Asked Questions

If you would like to ask us a question, please feel free to contact us.


Why not include any clergy members?

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory taught us that “a Church without Youth is a Church without a future. Moreover, Youth without a Church is Youth without a future.” Our father, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, frequently receives reports from the general bishops sent to visit us, the Papal Exarch appointed to shepherd over us, and his priests. In addition to their reports, we believe that our father should hear directly from his sheep, the youth, and learn of their vision for the growth and development of the Coptic Church in New Jersey.

Why limit sign up to residents of New Jersey?

We would like to deliver to His Holiness the Pope the voice of those who will be affected the most by the change we are requesting. Also, Pope Shenouda III has always said that the people have the right to choose their own leader. Since we are asking for a shepherd to guide the Coptic Church in New Jersey, it is only logical to consider New Jerseyans’ voice first towards this matter. Anyone outside New Jersey can still support us by sharing our message.

Why are you choosing to be anonymous, using the name, “Coptic Youth of NJ”?

While we may be anonymous as of now, rest assured that His Holiness will have our names and signatures on the paper copy sent to him. We thought it best to remain anonymous in the beginning as we seek everyone’s thoughts/comments so as to not affect anyone’s perspective. We would not like our names or respective parishes to sway someone to begin supporting or disagreeing with the petition, especially those of our own parishes.

We are a group of people representing the viewpoints from various parishes from North Jersey (Bayonne, Bergen, East Rutherford, West Side, etc.), Central Jersey (East Brunswick, Holmdel, Howell, etc.), and South Jersey (Atlantic City, Barnegat, Medford, etc.).

If I do not agree with some parts of your message, why should I support you?

First, thank you for reading our message and taking into consideration the ultimate purpose of our petition. To write a petition that would encompass every person’s opinion, we can all agree would be virtually impossible; this letter is a culmination of a long period of prayer, fasting, and intense discussions by the members of the various regions of New Jersey. The final product you see before you was solidified after taking into consideration the needs of each region and the overall goal of providing New Jersey with what we think could be an optimal compromise benefiting all the regions likewise.

We understand that every point may not completely resonate with all the people in a respective region, but we pray that we agree on more than what we disagree. For this reason, we are asking people to offer reservations or comments on the petition that will be later sent to His Holiness.

Again, everyone is welcome (and heavily encouraged) to contact us with all their concerns about the current version or to sign the petition with their concerns & reservations in the appropriate field.

Additionally, please feel free to comment directly on our Facebook page.

Why suggest specific individuals to be the Bishop you desire?

Regarding the mention of the two monks in St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey, Texas – it is only a request for consideration since they are both originally from NJ. His Holiness has himself emphasized in the past that it is optimal for clergy to know the area in which they serve. Obviously, a bishop will not know every cultural difference at the start, but we are not expecting him to do so – the major strength of a bishop is that he has the ability to macro-manage, and a bishop from the area will at the very least know where to begin to address the major differences in our state – to that, we all agree that the monks from Texas have demonstrated a blessed ability to macro-manage as needed and we leave it to His Holiness to consider the strengths and weaknesses of our arguments.

We are very aware that our requests are none other than that – requests – and that none of them may come to fruition if His Holiness deems them harmful to our growth, or if he has better options for us, of which we are unaware. If not a monk originally from our area, we are open to any options and encourage you to contact us.

Is my information secure?

All information collected is secured. Our site utilizes an SSL certificate to keep the transfer of data secure. SSL is the industry standard for security technology in ensuring that all data passed between a website and a browser remain private. When you see the padlock icon and the word “Secure” in your internet browser address bar, this means that the site is running in secure mode.

What about the rest of the population?

Many Copts have the impression that we thought we were the first to ever create a petition of this kind. We NEVER intended to imply anything of that nature. Our intention was NOT to ignore the sacrifices of the previous generations, but to honor them by joining their efforts in making a similar request. We want to acknowledge that we honor the work and sacrifices of the previous generations and that we value and seek their support equally as we seek the support of the youth.

We stand on the shoulders of giants – and that is a massive understatement. We know that many, both laity and clergy, have spoken to His Holiness Pope Tawadros and His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory regarding the structure of the NJ churches over the years. We also know that in other dioceses, as well as in our state, many letters and petitions have been authored and sent anonymously.

 

Why the anonymity? Why should we trust you?

We know and understand that our anonymity has caused many to question our motives and to suspect the integrity of the petition and its authors. The petition to His Holiness will include the names of the original writers. Without the authors’ names and your input and support, this would not be a legitimate petition. The Church would not begin any considerations without first thoroughly investigating the origins of this petition. We consider it vital to remain anonymous so that this petition can remain about its substance and not about the people who wrote it. We do not wish to compromise your decision to either support or not support this petition by revealing our identities. We are seeking impartial, honest opinions, and we hope you understand where we are coming from.

For those who have offered or are considering offering their support for the petition, we assure you that everyone’s name will remain private, public only to His Holiness who we trust will keep all information confidential.

Are you not showing disobedience and disloyalty to the Pope? Are you seeking to replace the Pope with your nominations?

One of the most contentious portions of our petition was the nomination of local monks. We understand that this request can be seen in various ways, and we understand why many have been discomforted. The various authors of this petition likewise heavily debated the appropriateness of this request before ultimately choosing to keep it. The bulk of this petition was more about the establishment of a diocese, rather than the nomination of specific candidates.

Throughout the history of the Church, the people have nominated candidates to be their leaders – from the lowest of the diaconate ranks to the highest Papal rank. We must make it clear that the monks we requested are not associated with this whatsoever; we understand that publicizing this request has made many uncomfortable. Likewise we can only imagine how this must have made Their Reverences feel, if they are aware of the petition.

We do not have any official knowledge of existing plans or considerations for the monks in question; we place our entire trust in His Holiness to make decisions based on his own knowledge.

By mentioning the two monks, we DID NOT intend to say that they are the ONLY candidates appropriate for us – we did not wish to sound so audacious and arrogant. We believe that the candidates in question possess the qualifications to be successful bishops, as evidenced by their services and macro-management skills, with the added benefit of being former New Jersey residents who grew up in a similar environment and interacted with the many generations of Copts in the state. We did NOT intend to give the impression that ONLY locals can be successful bishops, and we understand why many saw this as an insult. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and His Holiness Pope Tawadros II have sent us many able bishops who have both successfully shepherded us and have become diocesan bishops. We do not seek to replace the Pope, but seek to have a local bishop that the Pope trusts in, who will be obedient and loyal to the Pope as we are. We emphasize that we trust wholeheartedly in His Holiness’ judgment, and we are completely obedient and loyal to His Holiness in all situations, and will faithfully obey him in both this decision and in all decisions. There was never a question in our hearts regarding our loyalty and obedience to His Holiness.

At the same time, we also wish to make clear that we are loyal to and obedient to His Grace Bishop David who was recently appointed to temporarily supervise the archdiocese. The petition was neither written as a response to the vacancy of His Grace Bishop Angelos nor the appointing of His Grace Bishop David.  We had been working on this petition before the appointment of His Grace, and this petition is in no way associated with either event.

We apologize that our petition did not make these points clear whatsoever, and again we understand why many people could not support this petition for that reason. We apologize for not taking the due diligence to be as clear as possible. Likewise we apologize for not making it clear that these recommendations came from the authors of the petition, and not the congregants of the state, many of whom have never met the candidates in question.