CAIRO: The Coptic Orthodox Church was served with court papers relaying the decision by 130 Copts to abandon the Church, leaving them without belonging to a recognized sect.
The decision reflects growing tension between members of the Coptic community and the church over divorce and second marriages permits, a papal source told Daily News Egypt Monday.
The withdrawing Copts can join another church to secure permissions to get divorced and remarry.
They demanded the reactivation of an internal church rule (Law 38) that lists 10 justifications for divorce including maltreatment and madness.
Pope Shenouda deactivated this law in 2008, naming only adultery and conversion to a different sect as the only accepted reasons to obtain a divorce permit.
According to the Egyptian personal status law, Christians who do not belong to a specific sect are subject to sharia, which allows them to seek divorce in court.
Around 2,000 Copts seeking remarriage have held several protests, the last of which was in front of the Ministry of Justice, demanding the reactivation of Law 38 and a moratorium on the current divorce law.
Member of the Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod Bishop Salib Matta Sawiris told Daily News Egypt that the church cannot contradict the Bible to solve the problems of those seeking divorce.
"The Bible listed two reasons for divorce and this cannot be changed," Sawiris said.