Showing posts with label Tawadros II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tawadros II. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tawadros II Enthroned as Coptic Pope, Grieves over Gaza

 On March 17, 2012, we reported on the death of Pope Shenouda, the 117th leader of the Egyptian Coptic Church (see ).

Yesterday, the Coptic Church enthroned Pope Shenouda’s replacement in the culmination of one of the most unique decision-making processes in all of Christendom: he was chosen by lottery.

Two weeks ago, a young boy was chosen, brought forward to the alter, and blindfolded. He then picked one of three pieces of paper from a jar. The paper was shown to the congregation. On it was the name of Bishop Tawadros, and, according to Copts, this makes him God’s choice to be the next Coptic Pope. The congregation broke into spontaneous applause. 

Youssef Sidhom, editor of the Coptic Watani newspaper, explained “We end up presenting three to heaven, and we ask heaven to choose one of them.”

While westerners often associate the word "pope" with the Roman Catholic Church headquaretetred in the Vatican, the Egyptian and north African Christians have looked to Alexandria (founded by St Mark) as the seat of their patriarchate since at least the second century.  They also call their spiritual leader, "Pope." 

The new pope is 60 years old, with global experience: he studied in Britain, worked in Egypt and abroad, and managed a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. 

Tawadros II steps into leadership at a very delicate time in Egypt. While Copts make up 10% of the Egyptian population (the largest Christian minority in the middle east), Christians have long complained of discrimination, especially as the country's Muslim majority have moved the nation toward religious conservatism since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago.  

Tawadros II wasted no time staking out his role in Egyptian life, using the Sunday coronation to express his grief over recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip saying,

"We share the pain of our brothers in Gaza."

Meanwhile, the world watches as the Israeli-Gaza conflict escalates...