On September 21, the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States (suscopts.org) issued a comprehensive summary of the upcoming process for nominating the 118th Pope and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. We quote from this excellent guide:
The Holy Synod has approved the final list of voters. There are 2405 voters who will take part in this historical event.
The voting process for the 118th Pope of the See of Alexandria will involve two steps:
1) Objections Against the Nominee
Submitting objections against the nominees are only accepted and recognized from the final list of voters. These objections are to be submitted between September 15-30, 2012.
a) Submitting Objections
- Voters within Egypt
Voters within Egypt can submit any objection against the nominee by personally submitting the objection in an enclosed envelope to the secretary of the nomination committee
- Voters Outside of Egypt
Voters outside of Egypt can submit any objection against the nominee via DHL to H.E. Metropolitan Bakhomious. The mailing address is:H.E. Metropolitan Bakhomious
St. Mark Cathedral
222 Ramsis Street
The envelope must have a post mark date of no later than September 30, 2012.
Each voter will need to follow up on the arrival of his/her letter in order not to lose his/her voting right.
Once all objections are submitted, the nomination committee will review all submissions beginning October 4, 2012. In turn they will be narrowing the list of nominees to 5-7 names. An announcement of the nominees will be issued around the 1st or 2nd week of November.
2) Election Day
The election date is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 24, 2012 followed by the altar lot on December 2, 2012.
- Voters within Egypt
All voters within Egypt will be voting in person on the tentative election day of November 24, 2912.
- Voters Outside Egypt
Voters outside of Egypt have two options for how to vote:
- Travel to Egypt and vote in person for voting on the tentative election day of November 24, 2012
- Receive a Ballot
The ballots will be received in advance before the tentative election day of November 24, 2012. The ballot will contain the final list of the 5-7 nominees. The voter will vote by scratching out with a pen all names in which he/she does not vote for. There can only be a maximum of 3 unscratched names, otherwise the ballot will be rejected.
Process of the Ballot
The ballot will contain up to 3 names. It will then be attached to a letter authorizing another voter to carry his/her ballot to Egypt before November 24, 2012. This letter should be notarized and given to the person to deliver.
After the final names have been selected, a detailed biography for each nominee will be published and the Coptic channels will broadcast a spiritual activity of each nominee in order to help the Copts around the world to get to know the nominees.
As we go through this historical event, the presence and guidance of our Lord is vital. Thus the Church will be fasting 3 first degree fast (similar to the Wednesday and Friday fasts)
- October 1-3, 2012: prior to studying the objections of the nominee; reducing the current list of nominees from seventeen to 5-7 names
- November 19-21, 2012: prior to the tentative election day
- November 26-28, 2012: prior to the Altar Lot (Note: this will be during the Nativity Fast but the Church will be dedicating 3 days for the selection of the new pope)
We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ guide us through this process and help us to choose a good shepherd for His church according to His will.