Home / news / Pope Shenouda III and Father Matta Al-Miskeen .. The story of the student and the professor

Pope Shenouda III and Father Matta Al-Miskeen .. The story of the student and the professor

Pope Shenouda saw that the church is a comprehensive institution that provides solutions to all problems, while the poor father emphasized that Christianity is a relationship between God and the human conscience, far from politics.

In April 1991, Pope Shenouda III spoke about the monks of the monastery of Anba Makar, and said about them, “They obey Father Matta Al-Miskeen more than they obey the Church and the Holy Synod.” This lecture at the Faculty of Theology discussed the doctrinal differences between the official church and Father Matta Al-Miskeen and his school, but The differences between them were not only about the doctrine, but also extended to how to manage the affairs of the Christians, which was also discussed by Shenouda.

It is noteworthy that Pope Shenouda was born in 1923 in the name of Nazir Gide Raphael, became Patriarch in 1971 and died in 2012.

As for the father, Matta Al-Miskeen, his name is Yusef Iskandar Yusef, and he was born in 1919 and became a monk in 1948 and died in 2006.

A student who disagreed with his teacher

Shenouda, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, considered that there were “psychological” factors that made Father Matta Al Miskeen disagree with the Church. In 1941 and he died in 1981) two bishops on September 30, 1962, and no decision was made to demarcate the poor as a bishop, and Samuel was a bishop for social services and a representative of the church in the World Council of Churches, while Shenouda was bishop of education.

Then the second edition of the same book was published in 1977, following the events of sectarian strife in Cairo, and Shenouda’s dispute with the former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and the next edition in 1981, following the second disagreement with Sadat and Shenouda’s declaration not to celebrate holidays, for his refusal to apply Sharia provisions on Copts , “The times have their reasons, and the book was distributed to official figures.”

In the same lecture, Shenouda said about the book, “No one has ever fought the church like this book, and it has never happened that anyone insulted the church as he insulted this book.” Shenouda wanted to reduce his interest in the book, so he said, “I did not read the book when it was published, because I care about spiritual affairs. , But I bought it to be in my library, and then I read it when his summary was republished after my disagreement with Sadat in an article by Makram Muhammad Ahmed. “

Matta Al-Miskeen was a teacher of Shenouda at the beginning of the latter’s order, and despite the differences between them, Father Matta said of Shenouda in a statement to Time magazine in 1981, “He is the best educated Pope in the history of the Church.” But he added, “The appointment of Shenouda was the beginning of the problem, as reason replaced inspiration, and planning replaced prayer. In the early years (meaning Shenouda’s ascension to the papal throne) I prayed for him, but I see the Church heading from bad to worse because of his behavior.” To interview Sadat before the arrests of September 1981, and he was nominated by five names dealing with Orthodox Christian affairs instead of Shenouda, which allows Shenouda to challenge the motives of Matta Al-Maskin’s writings.

Christianity and Church jurisdiction

In his book, “The Church and the State,” the poor person refers to 3 dimensions that define the competence of Christianity, and the purpose of that is “to know the competence of Christianity as a religion that needs service and preaching (evangelization), and thus knowledge of the competence of the Church in its capacity as responsible for Christianity. The activity of the church in relation to the state, and the goal (…) is for the Christian citizen to know what he has and what he owes towards the church and the state.

In the first dimension, “To whom did Christ come?” The poor responds, that he came to “sinners (…) The most dangerous enemy that threatens the entity of Christianity with dissolution is for the preachers (missionaries) in the church to be concerned with a topic other than the sin (sin) of man, so they leave from them the call of Christ to sinners, which was his first and great task, and they are preoccupied with the human being on the one hand. “His social life. This is not only a departure from Christianity, but a resistance.”

As for the second dimension, according to Matta the poor, “the goal of Christ from the salvation of sinners” is “entering into the kingdom of God.” This kingdom is not a temporal kingdom but rather a spiritual one that man finds within it, and according to the Christian doctrine, Christ – upon him be peace – did not accept to be king, so The poor says, “The church’s attempt to take care of temporal matters in the name of Christ is tantamount to installing Christ as King on Earth.”

As for the third dimension, “means of salvation of sinners,” it is “calling for repentance.” The father, Matta the needy, rejects any other means of salvation other than calling for repentance, “and every other means such as enticing people with gifts, food, clothing, or entertainment, are all considered unlawful means.” The functions in which the Bishopric of Social Services was active, for which the poor person was assigned a separate topic.

Social service in the church

Matta warned the poor about the clash between the state and the church because of the method of social service in the church. He said, “Social service does not stop at borders, as it conflicts with the government in all fields. Local and international clubs and camps, arranging conferences to discuss internal and external problems for young people and cases of unemployment and poverty, and establishing shelters, hospitals and universities. If we know that any system of government must have a special and planned direction in the social orientation of these aforementioned groups, then we believe that it is imperative in all these The conditions are for the church to study the ruling system, so that the church’s plan is not inconsistent with the government’s plan. Otherwise, a clash between the church and the government is inevitable, “according to al-Maskeen.

It should be noted that Pope Shenouda repeated in his lectures on Matta al-Maskkeen that the latter’s talk about social services is pitting the state against the church, and it was aimed at attacking the Bishop of social services, Anba Samuel. Matta al-Miskeen’s motives were not spiritual but were personal, and this is evidenced by the committee formed by the Pope. Cyril VI in the sixties, with his membership, to review the book “The Churches Talents” in which Matta the Poor, said that there is no difference between a priest and a bishop in the early church. Shenouda did not write the report. Then Pope Kyrollos asked him after a while about him, so he apologized for writing it and said to him: “If it were … Bishop when he said that. “

The Church’s relationship with rulers and citizenship

The poor man then moves to talk about the church’s association with the rulers, which is what angered Shenouda most from him, so the poor man wrote: “When (the church) was troubled by the matter, the matter would resort to the kings to strengthen its authority, but the more power the church derived from the kings, the more it lost its power. (…) The more it was rid of its enemies by the power of the sword, the more the sword ruled over it.How many times the church lost its way and disappointed the hope of Christ in it? How many times did I desert him as a king to seek the mercy of kings in the suit of slaves?

Then he says, speaking about the indifference to the political system in the state, “Disregarding temporal authority is seen as an encouragement for evil and evil, but there is still a long-term danger that causes the parishioners to disdain their duties towards temporal authority on the pretext that dignity, submission and loyalty are for God only, and therefore of course the Church (…) Thus, they enter into the horror of the believers that God is an enemy of Caesar, and Christianity is an enemy of the state and patriotism. “

The poor father speaks about what he calls “the responsibility of the Christian citizen towards the systems of government,” as he clearly refused the church directive of Christians, even though he had committed individuals to their responsibilities as citizens, and said, “A Christian citizen cannot rely on his Christianity to evade his national duties, because this is an offense to his Christianity.” Christianity – and therefore the Church – does not have a special direction in regimes, and does not advocate a social or political situation, and does not fill in any system if it is good and does not resist it if it is bad, but it does what is greater than all of that, as it gives its children Complete freedom for each of them to act in worldly matters according to the principles of the world, without injuring his Christian conscience. “

The observer of the ecclesiastical situation, especially after January 2011, finds that there are church trends in the voting process, with every electoral entitlement, such as Pope Tawadros saying about the 2014 constitution, “Yes, the blessings increase”, which may be contrary to the vision of the poor, but he has warned of it. As was previously mentioned in his talk about the bullying of kings.

Sectarianism and intolerance

Father Matta al-Miskeen also warned of religious fanaticism, and considered that “the primary responsible for religious fanaticism are the leaders and teachers who do not take into account the psychological level of the religious, and who teach him the truths of faith without discussion, (…) But we must acknowledge the bitter truth, which is that religion teachers often They lack knowledge. “

Then he concludes his book with an article on sectarianism and intolerance, and defines sectarianism as “means awakening in a person an independent awareness of his gender, religion or belief under valid or incorrect motives that make him conduct a negative behavior towards those who do not share his gender, religion or belief, and then under these insistences. The motives and excitement either involves itself in order to avoid a clash, or it sets out to attack and clash – conscious or unconsciously – the source that senses its aggression and which constantly raises its anxiety, (…) and we can say that the weapon of economic threat in stirring up sectarian strife is much stronger than the weapon of pure religious threat. .

Prior to the conclusion of Pope Shenouda’s lecture in 1991, he said: “The story has not been completed.” Three years after the death of Father Matta Al-Miskeen, he visited the monastery of Anba Maqar, which was the seat of Matta Al-Miskeen and his place of influence, and was financially and administratively independent from the rest of the Church, and his monks wore a different dress. As for the rest of the monks of the Egyptian churches, Shenouda ended on this visit the financial and administrative independence of the monastery and unified the monks’ cap, and made the monastery subordinate to it directly, after the resignation of its president two months before his visit.

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