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Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III dies
Pope Shenouda III dies Saturday at the age of 88 after 40 years as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church
Hatem Maher, Tuesday 20 Mar 2012
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Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III

The head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, died Saturday aged 88 after a long battle with illness.

The Coptic patriarch suffered from back and kidney problems for years and repeatedly travelled to the United States for medical treatment. "Pope Shenouda died from complications in health and from old age," his political adviser, Hany Aziz, said.

Shenouda was born 3 August 1923 in Assiut, Upper Egypt, and has been the Pope of Alexandria since November 1971 when President Anwar El-Sadat was in power.

"We lost today a great icon. His presence was crucial in repelling many threats against the country,” Amin Eskandar, a member in the People’s Assembly (the lower house of parliament), said in a phone call with state television channel Nile News.

"His patriotism and wise approaches to any issue were very helpful. May God compensate us for the loss of that great man.”

Pope Shenouda was widely acclaimed by Christians and Muslims alike in recent years for his regular efforts to contain sectarian tensions following a number of incidents, some involving the burning of churches, but he was also criticised for turning the church into a political entity.

He was also known for his support of Palestinian rights in the decades-long Middle East conflict. Because of these and other stances, he was often described as an Arab nationalist by observers.

In 2001, he famously stated he would never visit Jerusalem unless he entered the country with a Palestinian visa along with Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the late Grand Imam of Egypt’s foremost Muslim religious authority, Al-Azhar.

"I was full of admiration for the great patriotic stances he took throughout his life,” said Mohamed Refaa El-Tahtawy, the former spokesman of Al-Azhar. "I remember his great remarks about the visit to Jerusalem, when he refused to go there under the Israeli occupation,” he added.

Relationship with Sadat, Mubarak

Shenouda had a frosty relationship with late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, who placed him under house arrest in 1981, marking the climax of repeated disputes between the two. Sadat was enraged after Shenouda implied that Egyptian Christians were subject to discriminatory treatment by authorities.

His outspokenness saw Shenouda isolated and the administration of the Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church entrusted to a panel of five bishops. The following month, Sadat was assassinated in an Islamist plot. Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak released him from house arrest a year later and in 1985 restored his full authority.

Shenouda then enjoyed a warm relationship with Mubarak. But he heaped praise on the revolution that overthrew the president just days after the latter departed on 11 February 2011.

Some, however, were critical of his role in the post-Mubarak Egypt. The pope was criticised by many Christians for failing to scold Egypt’s ruling military council following the infamous Maspero incident in October last year when more than two dozen Copts were killed in street confrontations with the army.

But on Saturday evening, thousands of Copts gathered in the courtyard of Abbasiya Cathedral aiming to pay their last respects to the deceased patriarch. "We are not sure when this will be possible,” said one source. “Perhaps tomorrow.”

Another source indicated that no one would be admitted into the presence of the dead pope until the day of the funeral, “which will be held on Tuesday, three days from now, to make time for followers of the pope to come form across Egypt and from abroad.”

By Saturday evening, most presidential hopefuls, who had by and large made an effort to frequent Coptic mass since the end of the Mubarak regime, were offering their condolences.

"With one or two exceptions we expect all presidential hopefuls to be present in the funeral mass," added the source, indicating that all state bodies, political parties and groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, had already contacted the church. "Many have been asking how they might pay their respects and participate in the funeral mass."

Meanwhile, official and church sources said a high level state representation is scheduled for the funeral mass. The head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, is expected to be at the cathedral to offer his condolences, while SCAF's second in command, Sami Annan, is expected to be present throughout the mass.

Tantawi decreed three days of official mourning for Copts.

Annan and several SCAF members were invited to attend Christmas Mass on 6 January despite the outrage of the Coptic public at the military’s conspicuous involvement in the tragedy that befell Coptic demonstrators on 9 October while they protested a series of attacks on Coptic churches across Egypt.

Diplomats and some foreign dignitaries are expected at the funeral which will probably take place at the Abbassiya Cathedral before the coffin is taken to the monastery in Wadi Al-Natroun for burial.

“We offer our deep condolences to every one of our Christian brothers for the loss of Pople Shenouda,” Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie said in a statement. “May God help all our Christian brothers overcome this ordeal and bring a successor who can keep promoting the sense of unity between all citizens,” he added.

An Egyptian army statement said that the Pope was a "rare statesman who worked with all of his energy to promote the wellbeing of the nation."

Bishop Bakhomious (Pachomious) of Behera will head the Coptic Orthodox church for an interim period of two months. The General Congregation Council, which is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, will nominate three bishops, one of which is to succeed Pope Shenouda III.

The names of the three bishops will be written on three papers, and a child will pick one, unseen, from a box. This method is used in order for the "will of God" to play a role in the process.





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Hieoromonk Joachim (Pantelis)
18-03-2012 08:21pm
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AIWNIA H MNHMH AUTOY...May his memory be eternal !
Upon reading of Pope/Patriarch Shenouda's death I feel great sadness and yet give thanks to God Who now receives his precious soul, granting him His Heavenly Kingdom, "where there is no pain, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but Life everlasting."! Baba Shenouda has heard our Lord Whom He served faithfully, "Well done good and faithful servant"! Baba Shenouda shall ever be in my prayers and heart. May our Lord Jesus Christ comfort all my friends in Egypt and strengthen them. I miss being with them.
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Makonnen
18-03-2012 08:06pm
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A True Christian
Father Shenouda 111 was a man of God who always crosses the line to creat PEACE be it a Muslem, Catholic ect. His wisdom was his ability to forgive and the love to all irrespective of their motive. His loss at this critical moment to his followers is very grave but the Almighty who took will rise another like him . May God put him on his hand and give the strergth to the People who were under his guidance
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Ashenafi Fekade
19-03-2012 02:43pm
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we lost one great patriot pope
We trust on God to compensate us for the loss of that great pope ,and our lord Jesus Christ receives his preciious soul and granting for him Heavenly kingdom
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Tatek
18-03-2012 05:05pm
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Missed you Father
I was thinking how to talk to his holiness to ask some questions. But realy missed the Fatehr. i read all his book h thought me allot . May the our Lord christ bless his life and forgive our sin by his our beloved father's interrsation
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mengstu alemu
18-03-2012 05:00pm
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never forgotten
our father is our father for ever.you were angel of the earth,apostle of the now world,the one apostolic church is crying of loosing you.Baba, please pray for us to fellow your way and meet you in the kingdom of GOD.
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mengstu alemu
18-03-2012 04:58pm
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never forgotten
our father is our father for ever.you were angel of the earth,apostle of the now world,the one apostolic church is crying of loosing you.Baba, please pray for us to fellow your way and meet you in the kingdom of GOD.
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nagui lewis aziz
18-03-2012 01:02pm
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The loss of great christian leader
With a heavy heart we copts all over the world say goodbye to our beloved pope Shenouda the third. He was devoted to his lord and people, he prayed and taught continously to establish the right orthodox faith. He cried for his people suffering and pain but kept the faith and worshiped hope . May God rest his soul after this long tireing journy and repay him for all his magnificent deeds.
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Manoj Mathew , Kuwait
18-03-2012 11:39am
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Condolence from Indian Orthadox Member
Let his holy soul be with the Lord of Heaven & Earth and all the Universe & with our Savior Jesus Chirist.
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Sue
18-03-2012 06:03am
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REST IN PEACE POPE SHENOUDA
May you rest in peace Pope Shenouda in the arms of our loving Jesus Christ, may God's light shine upon you. You are now in heaven with all the saints, pray for all Egyptian Copts and for all Christians from your new heavenly home, that God help Egypt from what may now come! May Jesus Christ grant peace to all Egypt's people, and for the Christians who suffer in your name & for the love of Jesus Christ.
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Father Tekle Dingel
18-03-2012 04:25am
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Ethiopian Orthodox Priest
May Pope Shenouda intercede with our Lord and Savior Eyesus Christus on our behalf that he may have mercy on us, May we meet again with our Father and Teacher. Pope Shenouda was God sent and now God has taken him. Pope Shenouda's writings have been a blessing to me and my Priesthood. I just downloaded all His books on Thursday night, God Bless you and rest your soul in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
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Leah
17-03-2012 11:51pm
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Pope Shenouda
God rest your soul Baba Shenouda, you were an angel here on earth and we were lucky to have had you. Please pray for us 3
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sa
19-03-2012 02:03pm
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loveable shenuda
Realy his death is very saddest toall christians and to those who need pure
sa
19-03-2012 02:03pm
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loveable shenuda
Realy his death is very saddest toall christians and to those who need pure
sa
19-03-2012 02:03pm
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loveable shenuda
Realy his death is very saddest toall christians and to those who need pure
Samuel.Fikadu
19-03-2012 01:59pm
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loveable shenuda
Really his death is very saddest for all Christians and to those who need pure water of life. Now our time apostle, the wonder full preacher, amazing writer and outstanding leader of church take away to the kingdom of God and to the bosom of our lord Jesus Christ. But His teachings, His smile and all sacred works are remaining with us. May Lord grant to our everlasting beloved father Pope Shenuda ııı rewards of saints.

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