Clarification from His Grace Bishop Saraphim

A Clarification from HG Bishop Saraphim of Ohio, Michigan & Indiana 


Half-truths Are Not the Truth

This was merely to unify the girls’ choir with a uniform in the churches to encourage them to be modest, have respect for the Church, and for their attendance to Matins, Vespers, and Midnight Prayers, and for learning Church hymns with commitment. It was not an ordination as claimed. My meeting with the girls, children and families at night was in the church while the curtain of the sanctuary was closed, and I was not wearing my liturgical vestments. They were wearing the choir uniform while they were standing in their place in the nave of the church, singing the people’s responses with the people. They were not assigned any new role in the service that they had not done before. This has resulted in outstanding outcomes in the attendance of the girls and children, with their commitment and leadership. I did not call any of them by their names, neither did I perform the laying of hands on their heads, as we do in the rite of ordination, because there is no such rite of ordination for deaconesses by laying of hands in the Coptic Orthodox Church. We respect and abide by the canons and traditions of the Church. 

May God keep you and bless you.


Bishop Saraphim


Columbcille Anthony Dougherty

It's unfortunate he put this out. As is our male "Chanters" aren't ordained either so I don't see the point in catering to the ignorant who are challenging him! Women have been in the choirs of the Church since the 4th century at the latest, St Ephriam, many of whose hymns have been found in Coptic, wrote specific hymns and parts to be done by women.

Honestly the fact that many copts think we even have Chanters, what would properly be a single individual directing the choir and instructing them in the chants and hymns, is disturbing. No what we have are a bunch of laity pretending to be ordained, which they aren't even in the ordination rite prayed over them, and who are unjustly wearing a Tonia standing where they should not be (on the platform). If we as a congregation have no problem with 5 year olds pretending to be sub Deacons (i.e. wearing a stole) or Deacons (i.e. Serving at the altar) both which are canonical violations, then why could you possibly have an issue with women operating within their proper allotments which is according to the church praxis?!?

I wish some of our bishops would actually stand resolute rather than cower at the notion of opposition