Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria during his speech marking the anniversary of the Holy Steps celebration on the evening Tuesday, June 2, 2021. (Photos courtesy of the Coptic Church)
Pope Tawadros' sudden illness occurred earlier this month during a mass, as stated by Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church.
In Thursday's statement, Pope Tawadros attributed his illness to a busy and eventful May, which involved numerous meetings and visits to various locations, exposure to heat and air conditioning during meetings, and high levels of stress.
"Last May was filled with service, care, masses, meetings, visits, and appointments, and it ended with the Feast of Christ's entry into Egypt, the meetings of the Holy Synod, and the synodal committees, in addition to our visits to the Vatican, Rome, Milan, and Austria,” Tawadros stated.
“The heat and the use of air conditioning during the meetings, as well as the extreme stress, made Herpes Simplex Virus flare up on my face, and doctors always say that the cause is stress," Tawadros explained.
Tawadros stated that his condition necessitated medical evaluation, medication, daily physical therapy sessions, and complete rest without exertion.
Johns Hopkins Medicine defines Bell's palsy as sudden and progressive facial muscle weakness or paralysis that develops quickly over 48 hours and has no apparent cause.
Bell's palsy occurs when the facial nerve (7th cranial nerve) is damaged, resulting in pain and discomfort on one side of the face or head.
There is currently no known cure for Bell's palsy, but typically, recovery begins within two weeks to six months from the onset of symptoms.