FaithWorld

Egypt court says Copts can remarry, church objects

May 31, 2010
coptic

Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, December 11, 2005/Tara Todras-Whitehill

An Egyptian court has ruled that divorced Copts have the right to remarry, contradicting the church’s position and undermining its efforts to maintain its authority over the Christian community in Muslim-majority Egypt.

Saturday’s administrative court decision was prompted by a rare intervention by Pope Shenouda, leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, who launched an appeal by the church against another court ruling made in March 2008 that had approved the request by the two divorced men to remarry.

The ruling challenges the church’s efforts to hold sway over its flock and guard Coptic values in Egypt, where conservative Islamic trends have gained ground. Christians, mostly Copts, are about 10 percent of Egypt’s 78 million people.

While it is accepted practice in the Muslim community, divorce and remarriage is only allowed in the Coptic tradition in certain cases, such as where adultery is involved.

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