Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
In our thread on Women Priests the opinion has been offered that we do not have the authority to alter Our Lord's pattern of the successors to the Apostles being, as they were, all male.
That set me thinking about the question of authority. In the Coptic Church, as set out in Canon 6 of Nicaea, the Patriarch of Alexandria has authority over Egypt and the adjacent areas; by extension that applies to those areas which volunteer to come under his jurisdiction. Although I would not assert it as a fact, I have read that Alexandria's Patriarch was the first to be called 'Pope'.
The Coptic Church operates through an Orthodox structure which is not, it seems, quite that which ++Kallistos describes for the Eastern Orthodox, in that the Pope and the Synod are the locus of authority. As with so many other areas, that seems to be how things operated in the early Church back when the Bishop of Rome was recognised as having a 'primacy of honour'.
It would be, perhaps, interesting to compare the Coptic structure with that of Rome and that of the Eastern Orthodox in terms of the question of where authority lies. At Chalcedon, which was not accepted by the Fathers of the Oriental Orthodox, the Chalcedonians declared that 'Peter speaks through Leo'; does he also speak through Shenouda III? Or do we see these things in a different manner?
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)