Christ in Coptic Art.jpgThe Coptic and Ethiopic Churches face the elections of new popes in the coming  weeks. Pope Shenouda III died in March 2012 after serving as pope of his Church for 40 years. Yesterday, the patriarch of the Ethiopic Church Abune Paulos died at the age of 76. Shenouda had health issues and Paolus apparently died of a heart attack (there’s some controversy on the reason for the death).

The Coptics are preparing to elect the 118th successor of Saint Mark. The list of 17 possible choices is being scrutinized now; the more than 2500 electors have been gleaned from the clergy and laity alike.
The New Jersey eparchy (diocese) for the Coptic Orthodox has introductory material to read. The US doesn’t have a large group of Coptic Orthodox in comparison to the Greek Orthodox Church or Catholicism –let alone the Coptic Catholics, for that matter– but the Church is growing. Worldwide there are 18 million adherents. In the Tri-State area there are some 19 communities of the Coptic Orthodox faithful. For example, the Copts purchased the former Benedictine abbey of Corpus Christi in Texas for a monastery of their own.
Catholics have a keen interest in the Coptic Church because of the role she has played in the forming Catholic faith across the many centuries.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church will also have to elect a new leader, the 6th patriarch, with the death of Abune Paulos yesterday. He served as head of his Church since 1992.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Church established themselves as separate from the Coptic Church in 1959 and claims 45 million faithful.
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