Pope Tawadros II appeals ruling to grant re-marriage after divorce for Copts
Pope Tawadros II - YOUM7/Hussin Tallal

CAIRO:  Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II appealed Tuesday a court ruling that would permit second marriage for the Coptic Christians who had divorced, according to a statement from the Administrative Court.

The appeal says that the ruling verdict is null and void as the court has no authority to consider such religious matter as the Orthodox sect laws stipulate that the marriage shall be once in life and permitting a second marriage license is an “exception.”

The Administrative Court ruled in 2008 that the Church is obliged to give permissions for second marriage for Orthodox Christians when Hani Wasfi Dimian, an Orthodox Copt, filed a lawsuit against late Pope Shenouda, asking for permission to have a second marriage.

In 2008, late Pope Shenouda III cancelled the Church’s 1938 Regulation which stipulated nine reasons for divorce and he put laws say the divorce and second marriage should not be approved except in such two cases. Divorce-seeking Christians called for reactivating 1938 regulation, Ahram newspaper reported in August 2012.

Under Shenouda’s amendments, the Church can give second marriage permissions in cases of adultery or converting to another different religion or sect. Christians who seek divorce and second marriage have formed groups and movement calling for the right to divorce and remarry through “civil marriage,” which would be held in courts not churches.

Marriage law in Egypt is governed by religious regulations, not civil law. Marriages between Muslims have specific procedures for divorce as stipulated in Islam, but any change to a Christian marriage contract is at the discretion of the church. Some denominations of Christianity in Egypt allow divorce, but the majority Coptic Orthodox church remains resolutely opposed.

Youm7 reported that the number of Christians who petitioned the Church in support of divorce and remarriage reached 20,000 persons in 2010 over 20 years.

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