CAIRO: About 1,000 Coptic Orthodox Christians from Naga Hammady, Qena held a protest at the St. Mark Cathedral Thursday in response to Pope Shenouda III’s decision to subject Archbishop Kyrollos to a church trial.
Protestors were concerned Kyrollos would be removed from his position following a compliant signed by 11 priests accusing him of mistreating them and decreasing their salaries while spending money on unnecessary “luxuries .
A number of bishops received the protestors, who took a 10-hour trip to Cairo on 20 buses, and assured them that the Pope has not banished Kyrollos or reassigned him to another place.
The committee formed at the Holy Synod didn’t accuse Kyrollos of anything, the bishops continued. The committee had listened to the complainants and is scheduled to listen to Kyrollos as well.
“Innocent until proven guilty, we only have to find the truth nothing more, Bishop Youna’s, the Pope’s secretary, said at the protest.
“The Pope listens to all sides. He is keen on implementing justice, said Archbishop Moussa.
Church laws stipulate that if a complaint is filed, both sides should be questioned, Ava Armia explained. What happened with Kyrollos was a regular procedure, and if the complaint turns out to be malicious, the complainants will be punished, he added.
Five priests have denied signing the complaints. Two of the signatories are reportedly close to Bishop Bishoy, secretary of the Holy Synod, who is known for initiating numerous church trials and for his dispute with Kyrollos, sources who preferred to remain anonymous told The Daily Star Egypt.
Two of these priests had been suspended by Kyrollos for a month once before.
Rumors first spread about Kyrollos’s banishment as the bishop went into seclusion in his Qelaya (praying room) in a Cairo Cathedral after hearing about the complaint.
“Talk about Kyrollos’ being banished is just rumor, stressed Archbishop Moussa. Kyrollos will soon return to his parish, he added.
The rumors led about 3,000 Copts of Kyrollos’s parish to protest at the Naga Hammady Monastery. About 1 thousand decided to go to Cairo to meet the Pope. They were accompanied by their district’s MP Fathi Qandil.
Qandil, a Muslim, talked to the Cairo bishops about Kyrollos’s achievements in strengthening ties between Muslims and Christians and restorations of the parish churches. He insisted to meet the Pope, declaring he won’t leave to Naga Hammady without Bishop Kyrollos.
The Pope, however, hasn’t met the protestors yet. The Cathedral bishops said he was busy with the Charity Committee.
But after a three-hour discussion, the bishops convinced the protestors to go home saying Kyrollos’s will probably reach Naga Hammady before them.