The Clerical Council for Family Affairs- Americas District was established by H.H. Pope Tawadros II and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church in 2015. The Council is the tribunal authorized by the Coptic Orthodox Church to adjudicate applications for remarriage, grant or refuse permissions to remarry and all related family affairs. From 2015 till 2017, the Council was presided by H.E. Metropolitan Serapion of Los Angeles. Starting 2018, the council is presided by H.G. Bishop Karas of the Holy Diocese of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia. The council is comprised of four additional members: Fr. Yacob Ghaly, Secretary; Fr. Ammonious Guirguis, Sr. Youanna St. Phoebe, and Mr. Bishoy M. Mikhail, Esq. The Council is headquartered at the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America in Cedar Grove, NJ. Sessions will be held at the Archdiocese and when the need arises, may convene at various regions throughout its jurisdiction.
The Clerical Council for Family Affairs- Americas District has jurisdiction of first instance over family affair matters in the Archdiocese of America and the Archdiocese of Canada as well as any other areas in North and South America which fall under the direct jurisdiction of His Holiness the Pope of Alexandria. Additionally, the Council has jurisdiction to adjudicate cases appealing decisions of the various diocesan Clerical Councils.
The Jurisdiction of the Clerical Council thus extends to the following:
- Cases in the Papal Dioceses outside the established Dioceses in North and South America, namely: The Coptic Orthodox Dioceses of Los Angeles, Southern U.S., New York and New England, Mississauga and Vancouver, Brazil and Bolivia.
- Where there is diversity of jurisdictions involved, i.e., where one spouse resides in the Archdiocese and the other in one of the established Dioceses.
- Appeals of Diocesan Clerical Council decisions.
In order to administer the petitions of those seeking the Church’s blessing and permission for remarriage, the Clerical Council for Family Affairs-Americas District has established this website with relevant contact and application information.
The Council seeks to apply the teachings of the Holy Bible and Church Law and to protect the rights and dignity of each person without discrimination and in full confidentiality and professionalism.