Statute on the Patriarch Election Decree of the President of the Republic for the year 1957 on the endorsement of the statute on the nomination and election of a patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Christians President of the Republic, Reading Decree 37 of the year 1942 on the endorsement of nomination and election of patriarch for the Coptic Orthodox Christians, amended by Decree 33 of the year 1946, In accordance with the Council of State, Decided:
Article 1: The statute on the nomination and election of patriarch for the Coptic Orthodox Christians in agreement with the herein decree.
Article 2: The abovementioned Decrees 37 of the year 1942 and 33 of the year 1946 shall be abrogated.
Article 3: The minister of the interior shall enforce that decree, to be effective as of the date of publishing in the official gazette.
Draft Statute on the Nomination and Election of Patriarch for
Coptic Orthodox Christians
On the Election of Acting Patriarch
Article 1: If the patriarch’s position became vacant due to the occupant’s death or any other reason, the Holy Synod and the Millī Council shall be convened upon the call of the bishop who is the oldest to have been ordained and under his chairmanship within a span of time that not more than seven days since the date of vacancy in order to select a bishop to be the acting patriarch. A republican decree shall be issued to appoint the acting patriarch to undertake running the affairs of the patriarchate in accordance with the church law and traditions and active rules pending the official appointment of a patriarch.
On the nomination for the patriarchic chair.
Article 2: Candidates for the position of patriarch shall meet the following conditions:
A – Be an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christian.
B – Be a celibate monk who has never married whether he was metropolitan or bishop and meet all conditions set in the church laws, rules and traditions.
C- Be at least 40 years of age on the Gregorian calendar and to have spent at least no less than 15 years in monasticism at the time the patriarchic position became vacant.
Article 3: A committee of the acting patriarch as chairman and 18 members to be selected by the Holy Synod, half of them are metropolitans and bishops and the other half are members or current or former deputies of the Millī Council, shall make a list of nominees for the patriarchic chair.
The committee shall be set up within a month at the most since the patriarchic chair became vacant. The meeting of this committee shall be upon a call by the chairman. If the chairman is absent or fails to appear for any reason, the metropolitan who is the oldest to have been ordained shall deputize the chairman in calling and presiding over the meeting.
The meeting shall be only valid when it is attended by two-thirds of the members of the two organizations composing the committee. If the quorum is not observed, the meeting shall be postponed to a later session and that session shall then be valid regardless of the number of persons attending and decisions of the committee shall be taken by absolute majority of attending members.
Article 4: Any person wishing to run for the patriarch position shall submit to the abovementioned committee within two months since the vacancy of the position a written recommendation signed by six metropolitans, bishops, heads of monasteries or 12 members or current or former deputies of the Millī Council.
Receipts shall be given for those who offered these recommendations and shall be placed in a special book indicating the date and hour of these recommendations. None of the persons mentioned may sign more than two recommendations otherwise his signature on the first two recommendations in the book shall be deemed valid and the following recommendations invalid.
Article 5: The nominations committee shall meet within the 15 days that follow the expiry of the deadline to offer recommendations as indicated in the abovementioned article in order to examine the recommendations it has received and exclude the ones that violated the rules indicated in the said article and prepare a list of those that observed the rules.
The committee, as the said period of time expires, shall offer these recommendations at the patriarchic house in Cairo and other areas for a period of 15 days provided that it shall announce the measure in three daily Arabic-language newspapers issued in Cairo.
Article 6: Each deputy on the patriarchic election list may, within the 15 days that follow the date of publishing, ask for excluding candidates who lack the capacity or conditions necessary for the patriarchic seat in a memo he submits to the committee chairman, in which he shall indicate the reasons for his request. Receipts shall be given for applicants.
During the month that follows the expiry of the deadline for offering these requests, the committee shall examine the recommendations and decide upon the requests. The committee enjoys the right of excluding any person who offered the recommendations if he does not meet the conditions indicated in Article 2. It shall write a final list of the names of candidates who are fit for the patriarchic seat from amongst those who offered recommendations and meet all conditions given the condition that they are no less than five and no more than seven. Their names shall be placed on the listing in alphabetical order.
Article 7: The committee shall set a date for the election and puts a copy of the final list on the gates of the patriarchic house in Cairo and also those of all parishes in other areas. At the bottom of that list, the committee shall indicate the date for the election and invite voters in the set time and place and announce that in three daily Arabic-language newspapers issued in Cairo. The date for the election shall not exceed 30 days since the date of announcement.
On the election of patriarch
Article 8: A table for the entry of voters’ names shall be prepared at the patriarchate office. Voters have to be Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians, known for their genuine faith and constant contact with the church and must not be convicted in an honor-disgracing felony or misdemeanor.
Archons included into the voter tables have to:
A – Be at least 35 years of age on the Gregorian calendar at the date the patriarchic chair became vacant.
B – Be a holder of a university degree or a current or former employee in the Egyptian government and organizations with an annual income of no less than 480 Egyptian pounds or an employee at a bank, company, commercial store or similar entities with an annual income of no less than 600 Egyptian pounds or payer of taxes of no less than 100 Egyptian pounds annually and good in reading and writing.
C – Be selected through any of the organizations referred to previously in Article II and in the way determined by the nominations committee.
Article 9: A committee of three clergymen, two members of the General Millī Council or its current or former deputies shall sort out the voter tables. The acting patriarch shall select members of the committee with its presidency going to the highest ranking clergyman or the oldest to have been ordained among them.
This committee, according to written data received, shall enter the names of voters from the following categories:
1 – Metropolitans, bishops, heads of monasteries, deputies and trustees.
2 – Members of the Spiritual Council in Cairo, deputies of dioceses and agents of the Christian law in cities and towns.
3 – Twenty-four priests from Cairo and seven from Alexandria.
4 – Current and former Coptic ministers and incumbent members of the Majlis al-Ummah (parliament).
5 – Current and former members of the General Millī Council.
6 – Seventy-two archons from Cairo and 24 from Alexandria as selected by the nominations committee.
7 – Twelve archons from each parish in other areas as selected by a committee chaired by the metropolitan or the bishop of the parish and with membership of five archons to be picked by the said metropolitan or bishop for this purpose.
8 – Coptic owners, chief editors or editors of daily newspapers on condition that they are members of the Syndicate of Journalists.
* Names of voters of the first five categories shall be entered upon the data sent by the acting patriarch.
* Names of voters from the 6th category shall be entered upon the data sent by the nominations committee,
* Names of the voters from the 7th category shall be entered upon the data sent by the metropolitan or the bishop subject to circumstances.
* Names of voters from the 8th category shall be entered upon the data sent by the Syndicate of Journalists.
Entry of names shall take place without any fees and must be completed within two months since the date of vacancy of the patriarchic chair.
Article 10: With the finalization of the step to prepare the tables of voters as indicated in the previous article, it will be announced in three daily Arabic-language newspapers issued in Cairo.
Persons whose names were neglected or mistakenly excluded in the data may ask to have their names entered or the data corrected. Persons who had their names entered into the tables may ask to have certain name(s) of persons wrongly entered or neglected excluded or the data regarding the entry corrected.
The applications shall be given to the acting patriarch during the period of examination and the 15 days that follow. The persons who apply them shall get receipts. It shall all be settled by a committee chaired by the acting patriarch and membership of two persons to be selected by the nominations committee, one of them has to be a clergyman. The decisions by that committee shall be final while the entry committee shall enforce these decisions. However, if the committee decided to omit a name of one of the archons referred to in the sixth and seventh items of Article 9, the nominations committee shall select whoever will replace the omitted names provided that they meet the set conditions.
The entry committee shall list the names of selected persons into the voter tables.
Article 11: Each one who had their names entered into the election table shall receive a certificate to this effect in which the voter's name, title, occupation, age at the entry time, address and entry number and date.
Offering the certificates shall be the chairman of the entry committee or a parish metropolitan or bishop where the voters reside. Voters shall sign a paper indicating that they have received their certificates while the person who hands over these certificates shall also sign to this effect. These certificates shall be handed over at least fifteen days prior to the day designated for the election proves.
Second: Election process:
Article 12: The election committee shall be composed of the acting patriarch as chairman and three clergymen to be selected by the Holy Synod and three archons to be selected by the nominations committee at least three days prior to the day designated for elections. The chairman shall entrust one of the members to do the secretarial work.
The election process shall be attended by a representative from the interior ministry upon a request by the chairman of that committee. If the chairman is absent or fails to appear for any reason, he shall be replaced by the metropolitan who is the oldest to have been ordained. If any of the members of that committee is absent, the chairman may choose who shall replace that member at the election assembly.
Article 13: The said committee shall meet at the patriarchic house on the day designated for holding the elections. The election shall continue as of 09:00 a.m. until 05:00 p.m. If at 05:00 p.m. there were persons who did not cast their votes, the committee shall make a list of their names and continue working until receiving all their votes. Election shall be correct regardless of the number of attending voters.
Article 14: Only the voters who have their names entered into the tables referred to at Article 8 of the herein statute shall be invited before the election committee to cast their votes, with the exception of the voters from the Ethiopian Church whether they do this by themselves or through official representatives. They are:
A – Their Eminence the metropolitans and bishops.
B – The representative of His Imperial Highness the Emperor.
C – Twenty-four of the notables of the empire to be appointed by the His Imperial Highness the Emperor.
The names of those voters shall be determined by means of notice to be received by the acting patriarch from the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo.
Article 15: Numerically-arranged cards equal to the number of voters registered in the tables shall be prepared in books. Those cards shall be sealed by the seal of the chairman of the elections committee and shall be given to each voter when he/she arrives at the headquarters of the election assembly on the day designated for that. The card shall bear the voter's name and entry number and the voters shall sign that they have received the card in a registry that is prepared for this purpose.
The cards of absent registered voters shall be placed in an envelope with the number of absent persons written on it and given to the chairman of the elections committee so that he may review the number and seal the envelope with red wax seal.
A committee of six voters to be selected by the nominations committee at least three days prior to the election day shall deliver the cards and supervise the election assembly.
Article 16: When voters appear before the election committee, they are to hand over to the secretary the cards aforementioned in the previous article. The secretary shall fold the card and place it into a box that is prepared for this purpose. Voters shall later receive an election paper that contains names of the persons nominated in the final list referred to at the sixth article.
The vote casting takes place through a certain procedure whereby the voters are obscured behind an enclosed area and crosses on the names of candidates they do not want elected provided that the remaining non-crossed names are three. Voters may not write their names on the election paper or put any sign or signal distinguishing it or indicating their identity otherwise the paper becomes invalid.
Article 17: After the completion of the election process, the committee shall count the number of absent voters and the number of representatives of the Ethiopian Church and then the box of cards and the box of election papers shall be opened to verify that the number of cards plus the number of absent voters equal the total number of registered voters and that the number of voters’ papers plus the number of absent voters equal the number of registered voters plus the representatives of the Ethiopian Church.
After the secretary writes down the surveys in the minutes, the committee shall sort out the votes and issue decisions regarding all matters that have to do with the election process and also on the validity that each voter gave his/her opinion or that his/her opinion was valid or not.
The deliberations of the committee shall be confidential and the decisions shall be made by absolute majority. If the number of votes turned out to be equal, the side of the chairman shall cast its vote.
Completing the vote counting process, the chairman shall announce the names of the three candidates who obtained the majority of votes in accordance with the order they obtained these votes. The committee secretary shall write down two copies of the minutes, to be signed by the chairman, members and the representative of the ministry of interior.
In the minutes, the Sunday that follows the election process shall be set as a date to start the lot-casting procedure at the major Saint Mark Church in Cairo. A copy of the minutes shall be sent to the ministry of interior, while the other copy as well as all the papers of the election process shall be put in envelopes and sealed with red wax and kept inside the patriarchate.
Article 18: The acting patriarch shall announce the date and place for the lot-casting procedure in accordance with the church laws and rules. The acting patriarch shall announce the name of the person who won the lot-casting procedure and write down two copies of minutes to be signed by the chairman of the elections committee and the present members of the Holy Synod and the nominations committee. One copy of the minutes shall be sent to the interior ministry on the following day.
A republican decree shall be issued on the appointment of the patriarch after the acting patriarch has enthroned him in accordance with church traditions.
General and time-related rules
Article 19: Whenever necessary, time frames indicated in this herein statute may be prolonged or shortened upon a decision by the nominations committee.
Article 20: When applying the provisions of this herein statute for the first time, the date of its effectiveness shall be deemed the date of vacancy of the patriarchic chair.