(Coptic-LA) - The Coptic Orthodox hierarchs of North America, including Metropolitan Serapion, have published an important Pastoral Message concerning the heretical movement of Atef Aziz, who has taken shelter within the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America.
Please read the statement and exercise caution against this new heresy (PDF).
Pastoral Message to the Sons of the Church of North America
We, the Bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church of North America, send this message to our beloved sons in our churches in North America, in order to warn them not to be dragged by the wrong teachings remembering what St. Paul said, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6: 3‐5)
In our meeting, held on May 9 thru May 13, 2016, in the Diocese of Los Angles, we reviewed some of the wrong teachings that began to spread in some churches, among which the teachings of Atef Aziz and his fellows. He thinks that he is delegated by the Holy Spirit to establish the Church of the New Covenant, The New Zion, because the current church is a dead deviant church and that we are in the last days. He put a spiritual system to his church members based on the Gnostic teaching that prevailed in the first centuries and was condemned by the early church who excommunicated its followers.
Atef Aziz started to spread his deviant teaching in Egypt. Therefore, the Holy Synod of the Coptic Church excommunicated him during the session held on June 22, 2002. Also, the Holy Synod excommunicated whoever follows his deviant teachings.
Atef Aziz and his followers began to practice their deviant activity in some areas of North America, especially after he joined one of the Chalcedonian churches of America and started to change his name to Father Seraphim first, then to Father Macarius later on.
Therefore, we invite all the blessed sons of the church to be committed to the Holy Spirit’s commandment to us uttered by St. Paul, “from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6: 3‐5), and to be committed to the decision of the Holy Synod issued at 2002 to excommunicate Atef Aziz and whoever follows him.
We, out of our pastoral responsibility to keep the right Orthodox faith and out of our commitment to the decision of the Holy Synod issued at 2002, will do our best, through the grace of God, to protect our children from this deviant group. Whoever will be proved to participate in any special or general meetings or conventions, whether in USA or outside it (like for the example the convention that is about to be held in Korea in July 2016), held by Atef Aziz and his deviant fellows, proved to spread the deviant teachings of Atef Aziz or proved to support whatever association or monastery he establishes, will be suspended from service and excommunicated from participating in the Holy Mysteries according to the Holy Synod decision to excommunicate Atef Aziz and whoever follows him.
We beseech God to keep His church and His people from ravenous wolves, to guide these deviant people to repentance, and to restore them to the right Orthodox faith.
Metropolitan Serapion Bishop Youssef
Bishop Karas Bishop Eklemandos