This goal explains many of the structural developments that are so evident in recent years within the Coptic Church.
During his time as patriarch, ShenUda has developed the episcopate of the church. In 1971 there were twenty-three bishoprics in Egypt; by 2001 this had risen to forty-nine. For the diaspora there were three bishops in 1971 and there are now nineteen. References to the monastic origin of the hierarchs explain the degree of importance and the significance that the respective monasteries have had at a given time. Thus, for example, from the seventh to the thirteenth century twenty-five out ofthirty-sixpatriarchs used to be monks of St Makarios in the Wadî al-Natràn. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, ten of the twelve patriarchs came from St Antony monastery. In the middle of the twentieth century, sixteen bishops have served as monks in the Deir al-Surianî. Under Shenuda, his home monastery Deir Anba Bishoi has provided numerous monks for the episcopate.
In 1971 there were approximately 200 monks; in 2001 there are some 1200, as reported in the official organ of the patriarchate, Al-Kiraza. They are located in the eleven historic monasteries: Deir Anba Antuni (St Antony); Deir Anba Bula (St Paul); Deir al-Barâmus (Romans); St Makarios; Deir Anba Bishoi; Deir al-Surianî (The Syrians); St Samuel al-Qalamûn; Deir al-Muharraq; St Menas; Deir Anba Bakhum; Deir Anba Girgis al-Riziqat; and twelve new monasteries that have reoccupied ancient monastic sites abandoned many centuries ago.46
A major characteristic of the Coptic revival is a renewed emphasis on the monastic and ecclesial traditions.47 This is realised in more frequent celebrations of the Eucharist, stress on the church's identity as an Apostolic church, renewed emphasis on the study of the Coptic language, commemoration of the glorious past, on Egypt as the homeland of monasticism, reading of the Church Fathers, and upholding martyrdom, even in the present day. At the same time, the church has attempted to restore the practice of certain sacraments which were beginning to fall into oblivion, such as the sacrament of reconciliation, or fasting, particularly honoured in the Coptic religious tradition. This practice lends itself to be used as an instrument of political protest; at the instigation of the patriarch the entire community may thus give a silent but spectacular sign of protest. Shenuî da made use of this device on several occasions during disagreements with the political authorities. By emphasising public prayer and fasting, the religious authorities not only intended to strengthen the faith but also wanted to provide the Christian community with
46 J. Masson, 'Trente ans de règne de Shenuda III, Pape d'Alexandrie et de toute l'Afrique', Proche-Orient Chrétien 51 (2001), 317-32.
47 F. Sidarous, 'Eglise copte et monde moderne', Proche-Orient Chrétien 30 (1980), 211-65.
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