Orthodox in Egypt: State Can't Force Re-marriage

Affirms Adherence to Gospel Teaching on Divorce

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CAIRO, Egypt, JUNE 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt says there is no power on earth that can force it to violate the teachings of the Gospel.

This was affirmed in a communiqué responding to an Egyptian High Court ruling that the Church must grant permission to divorced people to marry again.

Egypt only recognizes civil marriage when it is accompanied by a religious marriage.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is continuing with legal appeals to the May 29 decision, according to Bishop Armiya, secretary of Orthodox Pope Shenuda III. The May decision rejected an appeal already presented by the leader of the Coptic Church and reaffirmed a lower court ruling.

The case at hand has been brought to the courts by Hani Wasfi Naguib, a divorced man who wants to re-marry.

«There is no force on earth that can oblige the Church to violate the teachings of the Gospel and the laws of the Church based on ‘what God has joined together let no man put asunder,'» the communiqué affirmed.

The statement also recalled that Egypt professes respect for religious liberty and that Islamic law has allowed Coptic Christians to take recourse to their own laws.

Egypt has about a 10% Christian minority, with 9% of those being Coptic Orthodox. The majority of the country’s 80.5 million people are Sunni Muslim.
Bishop Armiya affirmed the Coptic Orthodox Church’s respect for the Egyptian judicial power and its decisions, but indicated that it will not authorize a second marriage for anyone.

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