Three candidates elected to enter final lottery in bid for Coptic papacy

Ahram Online, Monday 29 Oct 2012

Egypt's Coptic community is one step away from choosing a new leader for the papal chair after Bishop Raphael, Father Raphael Ava Mina and Bishop Tawadros advance to lottery stage

Abbasiya Cathedral
St Mark's Cathedral in Abbasiya, Cairo where thousands of mourners assembled in March to pay their respects the late pope. Electors gathered here on Monday to elect three final papal candidates (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Three Coptic priests -- two bishops and one monk -- have been voted into the final round, where one will be chosen to succeed the late pope Shenouda III. The final stage, known as the 'altar lottery,' will take place on 4 November, when a blindfolded child will randomly select the name of the church's next pope from a clear box containing three names on three slips of paper.

1. Bishop Raphael: Auxiliary bishop of central Cairo and Heliopolis, a former aide to the late Pope Shenouda III, and a member of the Coptic Church's Holy Synod. Born in Cairo in 1954 and a graduate of Ain Shams University's medical faculty, Raphael was ordained bishop in June 1997.

Bishop Rafael

2. Father Raphael Ava Mina: A monk at Alexandria's St. Mina Monastery (Mar Mina). Born in Cairo in 1942, Father Raphael has a law degree from Ain Shams University.

Father Rafael Ava Mina

3. Bishop Tawadros: Auxiliary bishop for Beheira, and auxiliary to ِArchbishop Pachomios (who is currently serving as acting Pope). A member of the Holy Synod, Tawadros was born in 1952 and studied pharmaceutical sciences at Alexandria University. He was ordained bishop in 1997.

Bishop Tawdros


Two monks failed to make the final round:

1. Father Seraphim El-Syrian: A monk at Wadi Natroun's Virgin Mary Monastery. Born in 1959 in Cairo, He has a science degree from Ain Shams University. Father Seraphim El-Syrian lives in USA.

2. Father Pachomios El-Syrian: A monk at the Virgin Mary Monastery in Wadi Natroun. Born in Aswan in 1963, Pachomios holds a joint degree in science and education. He lives in Italy.

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