Coptic pope says there is 'no same-sex marriage at all' in the Bible

The leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church urged the Australian Copts to fight for what is right when it comes to the issue of same-sex marriage, adding that one cannot find any mention of gay marriage in the Bible.

(REUTERS / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)Pope Tawadros II, the newly-selected 118th pope of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, speaks during an interview at the Wadi Natrun Monastery complex, northwest of Cairo, November 5, 2012.

Speaking to around 1,000 Coptic youth gathered at the International Convention Centre in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 1, Pope Tawadros II emphasized the Bible's stance on same-sex marriage and said it was non-existent in the Holy Book. The Coptic leader's comments come ahead of Australia's national plebiscite on gay marriage, The Egyptian Streets detailed. In addition, he said a family should be made up of a "father and mother."

The Coptic pope's statement echoed his speech during a press conference at the airport when he arrived in Australia on Aug. 30. He said Christianity and its followers should completely reject same-sex marriage.

"According to the Holy Bible, when you read either in the Old Testament or the New Testament, there is no – at all – same-sex marriage," Pope Tawadros II said in the press conference. "Therefore, this marriage is completely refused from the Christian faith."

Moreover, Pope Tawadros said same-sex marriage is unacceptable and is a sin. Father Tadros Samaan, the Coptic Orthodox diocese of Sydney's Vicar General, said the Egyptian pope was advised by some priests not to address questions on the issue, but he still "answered politely and honestly" based on Christian teachings, The National reported.

When he met with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday, Pope Tawadros said such meetings will help improve the ties between the two countries. He also expressed appreciation for any support that Australia and other countries give to Egyptians.

In the Sept. 1 event, Pope Tawadros also discussed the role that Egypt plays in the stability of the Middle East. He described Egypt as the "mother of the world" and Australia as a "very, very young sister."

Pope Tawadros II will be in Melbourne from Sept. 7 to 13.