The Holy Synod (1996) Regarding Atef Aziz

Thanks to one of our readers we were able to get a translation of the Holy Synod’s decisions against Atef Aziz and his followers:

We were able to find a translated version of the Holy Synod’s decisions against Atef Aziz and his followers. It reads as follows:

Resolutions of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church During the Era of Pope Shenouda III (117)

Page 194
Atef Aziz
Session dated on 01 June 1996,

The Holy Synod demanded precautions to be taken against Atef Aziz and his group, and for the group not to be permitted to teach.

Session dated 22 June 2002,
Faults of Atef Aziz and his group were read, as follows:

First, this is a private anti-church group falls under a single leader; Dr. Atef Aziz Mikhail, who gets offered the full loyalty and submission, after God, from the rest of the group members.

Second, this group works in complete secrecy following the style of cluster cells; as Dr. Atef trains a group of leaders, and then each leader would train a private group of disciples.

Third, this group plans to spread all over and within the Coptic Orthodox Church in the shape of groups, such as the groups of Al Faggalah, Al Zamalek, Masr Al Gadeedah, Ezbat Al Nakhl, and Shobra, and they consider their main territory to be

Page 195

In Asyout. The group conducts activities in Manfalot, Al Minya as well other area and they allocate provinces of Egypt to group leaders.

Fourth, Dr. Atef believes that he is tasked with a very special call from God for renewing the Church. Some members of the group agree and they consider themselves to be the true church of Jesus and the church of the New Testament which shall replace the current ruined, dead, desolating Church along with its corrupt shepherds. Therefore, they shall link the current generation with the age of our Christian Fathers of the fourth century, because the current church had stepped away from the ideological and spiritual path of the early fathers.

Fifth, According to their records and books, a clear spirit of pride can be observed which had struck the group, as shown in their messages where the group alleged that it was sent to them from the Holy Spirit via visions, speaking in different tongues (languages) or through direct speeches.

Sixth, the group’s approach is characterized by passion and emotions as they repeat certain slogans many times and very passionately; such as “The power of the blood of Jesus sets us free”.

Seventh, the group focuses on the presence of Satan and its control over vacant places, and they believe that the Holy Spirit had given them special formula of prayers to be recited on water and sprayed at their gathering sites. In addition, the group also believes that the Satan goes out of their chests while coughing during prayers.

Eighth, an unreal language was indicated in their audio recordings as they alleged to be an evidence of speaking in tongues and it was also indicated in handwritten notes. Group members had implemented such practices alleging that they were granted special talents and heavenly messages. Dr. Atef believes that the talent of speaking in tongues cannot discontinue in the church.

Page 196

Ninth, Dr. Atef alleged in audio recordings that the Holy Spirit spoke to him.

Tenth, Dr. Atef Aziz and his group apply deception methods, as upon their arrival from Asyout, they have not abided by the written pledges they submit to the committee of the Holy Synod formed according to the request of Pope Shenouda III, during which Atef Aziz and his group pledged to abide by the teaching of the church, and refrain from the Pentecostal doctrine. Nonetheless, they show certain behavior and act defiantly, then lie to cover for their undisclosed activities or their improper purposes.

Eleventh, the group has not benefited from the given chances, warnings, or disciplinary actions issued by the church, however they remained on their path and started to disseminate their publications to the congregation for the purpose of toppling the official Church and establishing their private church.

It became dangerous to ignore such group while they deceive young men and women, and consecrate some of them without asking for the permission of the church, as a preliminary step to form a defected sect while utilizing Priest Safnia as a church cover for their subversive activity which deviates from the true Orthodox dogma.

The Holy Synod accepted the recommendations of the Committee of Faith, Education, and Legislation and issued a verdict, was published in Al Kirazah magazine, to prohibit this group and all their followers from serving, teaching, and partaking in the Church Communion and all Holy Sacraments, and for Father Safnia to be stripped of his monasticism and priesthood, for his to return to using his original name of Medhat Kamel Fahmy and to be banned from the Priestly ministry and all types of service in Cairo, Alexandria, and all Dioceses which fall under the Episcopate of St. Mark. Furthermore, for all this

Page 197

To be published in a public newspaper. This verdict is also considered to be a decision to abstract Dr. Atef forms his diaconal rank of Agnestts in addition to the rest of his group to include diaconal and consecration ranks.

Below are names of some activists within the group of Atef Aziz:
1. Nabil Adly Kamel
2. Engineer Salah Fayik Matta
3. Miranda Kamel Fahmy (Formerly Tasoni Anastasia)
4. Jalina Labib Ramzy (Formerly a Tasoni)
5. Samia Sadek Abadeer (Formerly a Tasoni)
6. Awatef Adeeb Elias (Formerly Tasoni Kristina)
7. Ezis Refky
8. Suzi Kamel Habeesh
9. Sawsan Sad
10. Manal William
11. Hala William

The Holy Synod also accepted the recommendations of the Committee of Faith, Education, and Legislation and issued a signed statement by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III to all Priests of Cairo, Alexandria, and all Doicese to warning against Atef Aziz and his group.
The decision of the Holy Synod and the published statement of the Holy Synod at Al Kirazah magazine are going to be published on the issue which will be published right after the Pentecost Holiday. The statement comprises that the group of Atef Aziz alleges the possession of superior talents such as speaking in tongues, receiving visions, where they see themselves as Patriarchs as well as the priesthood of women in addition to the above summary of mistakes as indicated in the report of the Synodic Committee of Faith, Education, and Legislation.
The Holy Synod had added to the verdict that the “Gates of repentance are open to those who depart this group and its beliefs.



  1. HardPressed

    Here’s a question… Not just to tCopt, but anyone directly associated with Fr. Bishoy…. Does this finding now change your opinion of the situation? Was Fr. Bishoy wrongly accused by the hierarchs of the Coptic church or was he genuinely bamboozled, if you will, by this Dr. Aziz/Fr. Seraphim character and deserving of disciplinary action?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Houston, we have a problem

      I don’t know – this is all so heartbreaking. I’ll share what I wrote in another post, that this all seems so divisive. Abouna and Tasony’s letters essentially say that this was the only ministry that really mattered, and unless you were part of these “discipleship” groups, you didn’t matter enough for them to serve you. I’m sure those groups were great (except for the apparent false teachings part), but what about the rest of the congregation? What about the people that were not in these groups? I don’t believe Fr. Bishoy is formally accused of anything yet – all that we know at this time is that he decided to leave the church, and that following Atef Aziz (or his practices) was more important that serving his congregation.


      • HardPressed

        “…and that following Atef Aziz (or his practices) was more important that serving his congregation”

        All I know is accusatory statements like that are what get comment sections shut down lol…

        While I’m not personally familiar with Fr. Bishoy, the documents posted on this blog paint a picture of a priest and his wife falling prey to a man with rather suspect and Pentecostal-like teaching – taking advantage of emotional instability within a family to further his own theological agenda (intentionally or not).

        Now there’s already a great deal of importation of foreign ideas into the Coptic Church – a church without much of a theological foundation to begin with (forgive me). Perhaps this resignation is a blessing in disguise. Perhaps Fr. Bishoy wishes to practice a separate stream of Christianity (one frowned upon by the Coptic church), and with his resignation, he has the freedom and ability to do so, along with anyone in these so-called small groups, while the remainder of the congregation is able to practice a more “acceptable” form of Coptic Orthodoxy under the auspices of Frs. Paul and Domadious.

        After the dust and the #CopticDrama settles, perhaps this will be to everyone’s edification. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time a Coptic priest left his church for good. Even better when it’s with his own volition.

        Then again… I might be completely wrong.


      • Wassim The Dream

        @Houston “Abouna and Tasony’s letters essentially say that this was the only ministry that really mattered, and unless you were part of these “discipleship” groups, you didn’t matter enough for them to serve you.”

        I read the same letters and believe your deductions are wrong. It is likely that Abouna still thinks you matter, probably more than most people.

        @HardPressed I’m more in line with the bamboozled theory. Maybe a little poison apple in there too. He’s a good man. Hope he repents and comes back to the church though I’m sure church leadership sends him to Djibouti or McMurdo.


  2. anonymous173ate

    You are incorrect with your assertion about the Coptic Church not having any Theological foundation. If you are not a practicing christian, or orthodox, it is difficult to decipher which religions, whose practices and canons are foreign, seem illegitimate. The church has been in existence for over two thousand years. The church was founded by St.Mark the Apostle and the writer of the second Gospel of the New Testament. The church is conservative and has persevered the faith in its earliest form, handing it down through generations, and remaining true to the Apostolic doctrines and patterns of worship. Abouna Bishoy has done a great deal for the church and it is unfortunate that he came under the influence of Atef Aziz, this does not take away from his service and love for the community. He is human and has weaknesses like everyone.


  3. Oldchurchgoerand observer

    History is repeating itself.
    Back in the mid seventies, in my church in Cairo, an exactly similar movement started among Coptic youth, originating from a small church in Wekalet el-Balah in Boulaq and spreading in several parts of Egypt and had the same Pentecostal practices; speaking tongues, claiming visions, …. etc
    This group was then handled more wisely and less aggressively by the church leaders and the outcome, they almost disappeared, they are history!
    I had the chance recently to meet the then-youth and now over 60 year old men and women and discuss what happened.
    They are all back to our old Coptic Church faith and they consider their past experience as a mistake!
    Should we learn from history and not panic or over-react!


    • anonymous173ate

      Again, @Houston we have a problem, Abouna was trying to defend these discipleship groups from people who complained to the Pope and Bishop’s office that these groups were “extreme” and was trying to give examples of how people in these groups had grown spiritually. Additionally Abouna stated that these groups were open to everyone and never exclusive.


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