In response to today's ruling, Bishop Armiya, Secretary to Pope Shenouda, issued a statement stressing the respect of the Coptic Orthodox Church for the Egyptian judiciary and its rulings, but saying "there is no force on earth that can force the Church to violate the teachings of the Bible and Church laws, based on "What God has joined together let no man separate." He added that Islamic law allows the Copts to resort to their own laws, and the state respects the freedom of religion.
Egypt's highest court has ruled that the Coptic Orthodox Church must allow divorce and remarriage.
The Supreme Administrative Court, siding with a lower court decision, rejected an appeal by Coptic Pope Shenouda II. The court said that "the right to family formation is a constitutional right."
In Egypt all marriages must be solemnized in a religious ceremony. The court ruled that the Christians who make up 10% of the country's population have the same right to marriage and remarriage as their Muslim neighbors, and Christian churches, regardless of their religious doctrines, must allow divorced people to remarry. The decision cannot be appealed.
Coptic Church leaders have said that they will not abide by the court's order, setting up a potentially serious church-state clash.
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
- Egypt court orders Coptic church to allow remarriage (AFP)
- Coptic Church Protests Egyptian Court Ruling on Marriage License (AINA)