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A Dark Page from our Church History

Introduction: Pope Macarius III , 114th Patriarch of Alexandria was born on February 18th, 1872 A.D. He became a monk in 1895 A.D. He was ordained a metropolitan for Assiut on July 11th, 1897 A.D. He was ordained Patriarch for the See of St. Mark on Sunday, February 19th, 1944 A.D, against the canons of the Church.

Confusion of Abba Macarius after his ascension to the Patriarchal throne

This great priest and scholar, who was an expert in all the canons and the rituals of the Church, who spent his whole life in worship despising all the glories of this world, fell in the the net of the Enemy of the Church. In spite of his full knowledge that the Church canons forbid a bishop to desert his diocese, he nevertheless renounced this ordinance and ecclesiastical tradition, without giving any convincing reason for his breaking of the canons or the church, unable to defend his position. We (the author) confronted him publicly in the presence of others hoping to hear from him a justification for his acceptance of the Patriarchate but he gave us no answer. And even as the serpent beguiled Eve, this great scholar was beguiled by the glory and the greatness of the Patriarchal throne. And so, he degraded his own glory and greatness by ignoring the teachings of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and the Ecumenical councils, and despising the ecclesiastical ordinances and tradition, he, of his own will deserted his diocese of Assiut and moved to Cairo. As soon as he settled on the Patriarchal throne, he started bypassing the holy synod, trying to ignore its authority. He was supported in this by "Maglis Milli" (council of the laity) The holy synod then met and made the decision that since His Holiness Pope Macarius III has acted on his own initiative, without consulting the holy synod, his decisions become null and void, being taken illegally and that the holy synod will not be bound by them. The synod also warned the Patriarch and the head of the "Maglis Milli" not to continue on this path and return to the canons of the church and to follow the right path that leads to the peace in the holy Church. ... problems multiplied even between His Holiness and the "Maglis Milli" and he was forced to retire to the monastery of Anba Paula, deserting the Church and its affairs and abdicating his responsibilities. This is the utter failure that befell this great father when he defied the Church teachings. God deserted him and his confusion in directing the affairs of the Church became apparent to all who knew his virtues and wisdom so that they all felt sorry for him. ... Thus we can see how God forced him to judge himself and abdicate and flee from the throne that he coveted.

Comment: This saintly man had only one blemish in an otherwise blameless life as a monk and a metropolitan. He spent the rest of his Patriarchate which lasted only one and a half year repenting and telling those around him: "This happened to me because I disdained the canons of the Church" "Would to God that my legs were broken before they touched the grounds of the Patriarchate". God accepted his repentance for at the time of his burial an earthquake was felt in Cairo (a rare thing) He departed to the Lord 31st of August, 1945 A.D. I had the blessing of being ordained a reader by His Holiness.