Please commend to your prayers the faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church whose Patriarch, Pope Shenouda III has passed away. This is a sensitive time for our brethren anyway about which we were to learn more this Thursday, March 22 at our event “The plight and hope of Middle-East Christians” from Fr Youhanna Habib, parish priest of the Coptic Church here in Brighton. I have written to Fr Habib offering to cancel the event in light of this news, I will post here and on FB if it will be cancelled.
May he rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory. Amen.
From the BBC
The leader of the Middle East’s largest Christian minority was reported to suffer from cancer that had spread to several organs.
Coptic Christians make up 10% of Egypt’s population of 80 million.
After attacks on Coptic Christians in recent years, Pope Shenouda urged officials to do more to address the community’s concerns.
Pope Shenouda led the church, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, for four decades.
His political adviser Hany Aziz told Reuters news agency that Shenouda “died from complications in health and from old age”.
He had returned recently to Egypt after seeking treatment abroad.
Pope Shenouda was born Nazeer Gayed into a devout Christian family on 3 August 1923 in Asyut, Upper Egypt, and became a monk in 1954, taking the name Shenouda.
After Pope Cyril died in 1971, Shenouda was enthroned as Pope of Alexandria.
He fell out with President Anwar Sadat, who in 1981 sent him into internal exile. He was allowed back to Cairo by President Hosni Mubarak four years later.
The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says Pope Shenouda sought to protect his Christian community amid a Muslim population by striking a conservative tone and lending tacit to President Mubarak’s rule.
Whoever succeeds him now faces the task of reassuring the Coptic community as the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood look on the verge of sharing power in Egypt for the first time, our correspondent says.
Many younger Copts will now be looking for a leader who can help redefine their community’s role in a rapidly changing post-Mubarak Egypt