Looks like the Holy Synod may actually address the matter of chanter ordinations, if I’m reading the following correctly:
From copticworld.org article regarding the May 2015 Holy Synod meeting: “Committee of Pastoral Care and Service: 1- Review the regulations of chanters and celibate consecration for a vote next November.”
“I am not a deacon!” That is what I asked a room full of “deacons” to say during a meeting that included the entire gamut of “deacons” from my parish, young and old alike.
“Repeat after me. I am not a deacon!” I exclaimed. Many participated, but there were a few who had an eyebrow raised while responding, and some who did not want to utter a word (and after the meeting, some expressed that they were actually quite offended).
I walked up to the young kids, pointed to one of them and asked, “I am not a deacon, but I am a ???”
Someone blurted out: “Chanter!”
“Yes, that’s right,” I said. Then I pointed to someone older, and asked, “I am not a deacon, but I am a ???”
Understanding better the point of my question, he excitedly responded, “Reader!”
Why all of this? Because the truth is, there is a systemic issue in the Coptic Church that has skewed the meaning of “deaconship,” and I earnestly pray for improvement. But first, we need to see the problem.