Altar lottery to choose Egypt's 118th Coptic pope begins
Final stage in selection of Coptic Church's new patriarch begins Sunday morning with names of three candidates sealed in transparent box and mass starts
Ahram Online, Sunday 4 Nov 2012
Coptic clergy during Sunday mass at St Mark's, 4 November 2012 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
The three final papal candidates from left to right: Bishop Tawadros, Father Raphael Ava Mina and Bishop Raphael.
St Mark's Cathedral St Mark's Cathedral in Abbasiya Cairo during Sunday mass, 4 November 2012. The final stage in the selection process begins Sunday morning. (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
The altar lottery to choose Egypt’s 118th Coptic Pope began Sunday morning at the Abbasiya Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.
The acting pope Bishop Pachomios started the proceedings by announcing the three papal finalists: Bishop Rafael, Father Rafael Ava Mina and Bishop Tawadros, whose names were written on large sheets of paper in bold letters.
Each paper was then tied with red ribbon and marked with the acting pope's stamp as well as late Pope Shenouda III's stamp and dropped in a transparent box, which was sealed with red wax.
The box has been placed in a corner of the cathedral as the priests began performing the Divine Liturgy.
After mass, the church will then select one of cathedral's 12 altar boys.
The chosen child will be blindfolded and led to the altar to pick one of the papers.
He will give the paper to the interim patriarch, who will read the name of the new Coptic Pope.
*This article was amended on Sunday, 4 November to correct the number of altar boys.