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I Am Saddened for You My Son: Pope Shenouda III on the Apostasy of Max Michael

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An article published in El-Keraza Magazine, Friday, July 14, 2006, Abib 7, 1722 AM

Max Michael was our son, as son of the Coptic Church; he was born in it, was baptized in it and studied in our Theological College. And when he graduated, he served in our churched in Shobra, Zefta and Tanta. Then came the big trial, and it threw him outside the church so he said: “I have nothing at all to do with the mother church…” and declared that he is a bishop then said that he is a Metropolitan, then an Archbishop although he is married and has two daughters. And to get out of this trouble he declared that bishops must be married.

I am saddened for you my son. I am saddened for your separation from your church, saddened for you losing the chance in gaining your eternity and saddened for your claiming your priesthood. And this claim will not save you on the Last Day. Those who appointed you were not legitimate bishops and are not truly Orthodox. And if they were, tell us from which Orthodox Church are they?! Whether from the Eastern Orthodox Church or the Byzantine Orthodox Church and these are well known Orthodox churches.

And so long as they are not legitimate Orthodox, their ordaining you is also illegitimate. And consequently all ordinations you conducted to appoint priests or bishops are also illegitimate. And consequently every clergy act you conduct is illegitimate and this applies to all those you ordained. And the saying of the apostle applies to you, that you “think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.”

Therefore, I tell you a decision that may hurt you but is necessary for the salvation of your soul.

We do not recognize your ordination, nor do we recognize your new name, and before us you will remain Max Michael. And we do not recognize the ordinations you made nor do we recognize any clergy act you conduct.

And we warn the congregation from accepting any clergy acts from you: neither a Baptism, Chrism (Myron) Sacrament, Repentance Sacrament, Eucharist, Matrimony nor Priesthood Sacrament for all these acts will be void by you.

And with all the love we invite you to repentance and abandoning what you are in now. And know that the priesthood clothes and titles will not save your soul in the Last Day and will not open the doors to God’s Kingdom before you but might shut them in before you.

And do not rejoice in joining to you all those who were deprived from their priesthood rank or those rebelling against the obedience of the church. And do not rejoice in opening the marriage door to those whom the mother church rejecting allowing their remarriage in obedience to the biblical commandments.

This road that you are taking will not lead you anywhere and I go back and say: I am saddened for you my son.

And do not think that the abundance of curses with which you curse the mother church will be an excuse for you to rebel. God is capable of helping you save your soul and have another purpose other than this.

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