Tag Archives: Coptic Church

Coptic contribution to Christianity, don’t forget

Coptic of Christ and evangelistsSignificant roots of Christianity exist with the Coptic Church. Liturgy, theological reflection, the monastic witness, culture and education are gifts to the entire worldwide Christian community. These desert Christians are living testimonies to a vital faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior and victor over sin and death. It is difficult to exaggerate the contributions of Coptic Christians.

It is estimated that at there about 8.5 million Copts but that equals about 10% of the Egyptian population. It is not just fear that’s running through the hearts and minds of the Coptic about Islamic persecution of Coptic Christians, it is a reality. There are documented attacks on Coptic people but just there are on the Coptic institutions of church, monastic life, school, economy and culture.

The 60 Minutes┬ánews organization made this presentation, The Coptic Christians of Egypt. This presentation is OK. It lacks some substance and nuance, and it is slanted toward the Coptic Orthodox Church while there are Coptic Catholics who face similar struggles and aspirations. But the report of 60 Minutes ought to open for you an interest to know more, and to pray for Christians in Egypt. One of the unique pieces about the Coptic Orthodox Church is the manner in which the Pope is elected (you’ll have to watch the presentation).

May the Holy Family bless the Coptic Christians, Catholic and Orthodox.

Saint Anthony and Saint Mary of Egypt, pray for us.

Popes of Rome and Alexandria meet: Francis and Tawadros

Rome and Alexandria popes.jpg

A rare meeting between two Popes, that is, between the Patriarch of the West and the Patriarch of Alexandria happened earlier today in Rome when Pope Francis received Pope Tawadros of Alexandria, who heads the largest Christian Church in the Middle East. The first meeting between the two churches happened 40 years ago to the day with the Servant of God Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III; at that meeting a Christological agreement was signed and a hope expressed to find a path to unity. Tawadros is on his first pilgrimage outside of Egypt since becoming the head of the Coptic Church in November. He is in Italy for 5 days. 

Pope Tawadros proposed that 10 May each year should be marked as a day of celebration between the two churches. He also invited Francis to visit his Church, founded by Saint Mark the Evangelist around the middle of the First century.

Here is Pope Francis’ address:

For me it is a great joy and a truly graced moment to be able to receive all of you here, at the tomb of Saint Peter, as we recall that historic meeting forty years ago between our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and the late Pope Shenouda III, in an embrace of peace and fraternity, after centuries of mutual distrust. So it is with deep affection that I welcome Your Holiness and the distinguished members of your delegation, and I thank you for your words. Through you, I extend my cordial greetings in the Lord to the bishops, the clergy, the monks and the whole Coptic Orthodox Church.

Today’s visit strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that already exist between the See of Peter and the See of Mark, heir to an inestimable heritage of martyrs, theologians, holy monks and faithful disciples of Christ, who have borne witness to the Gospel from generation to generation, often in situations of great adversity.

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Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak elected new Patriarch for Catholic Copts

Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.jpegThe Most Reverend Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, 57, was elected by the Synod of Bishop of the Catholic Coptic Church, to be Patriarch on January 15, 2013. He succeeds Antonio Cardinal Naguib.

Until now Patriarch Ibrahim has been the bishop of Minya since September 2002. He is the second bishop of Minya to be elected patriarch.
The Coptic Catholic Church is small with c. 165 thousand people. It was established in 1824. In Canada and the USA there are 5 parishes.

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New pope elected … for the Coptic Orthodox Church

boy and acting pope.jpegThe electors, nearly 2,406 people, in the Coptic Orthodox Church selected the 118th successor to Saint Mark, Tawadros II. The new pope is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa. Until now, Tawadros has been an auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop Pachomius who’s been serving as the acting pope. Tawadros studied pharmaceutical sciences and was ordained a bishop in 1997. 

Bishop Tawadros received 1623 votes, or about 25% of the votes.
Each of the electors, asking God to provide for them a good shepherd, were blindfold in casting their ballot for three of five previously vetted candidates. The three names were placed in a ceremonial box, then the Divine Liturgy was celebrated before a blindfolded child selected one of the three names to be the next pope. The new pope succeeds Pope Shenounda III who died at the age of 88 in March, after serving since 1971.
Pope Tawadros II, 60, will be installed on November 18.

Bishop Tawadros.jpg

Christians in Egypt number about 10% of the 83 million population. The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian Church in Egypt.
So far, the key Muslim groups have offered their hands in friendship upon Pope Tawadros announcement.
Vatican Radio has an informative piece to read and to listen.

Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, dead at 88

Pope Shenouda on throne dead.jpg

On Saturday, 17
March 2012, Pope Shenouda III, the 117th head of the Coptic Christians died.
Shenouda was the successor of Saint Mark. He led his Church since November

UK’s Mail Online has a story of
Pope Shenouda
with other photos here. Plus, the Washington Post has an article to

Pope Benedict XVI sent this note of condolence to the Coptic

On learning of the sad departure to God, our common Father, of His
Holiness Shenouda III, Patriarch of Alexandria on the See of Saint Mark the
Evangelist, I wish to express to the members of the Holy Synod, to the priests
and all the faithful of all the Patriarchate, my most sincere brotherly
compassion. I recall with gratitude his commitment to Christian Unity, his
memorable visit to my predecessor Pope Paul VI, and their signing of the Joint
Declaration of Faith in the Incarnation of the Son of God together in Rome, on
May 10, 1973, as well as his Cairo meeting with Pope John Paul II during the
Great Jubilee of the Incarnation, on February24, 2000. I can say how the
Catholic Church as a whole shares the grief that afflicts the Orthodox Copts,
and how she stands in fervent prayer asking that He, who is who is the
Resurrection and the Life, might welcome his faithful servant. May the God of
all mercy receive Pope Shenouda in His joy, His peace and light.

When I met Pope Shenouda in St Louis, Missouri in 1994, it was a very interesting experience all around. May God be merciful to him and Saint Mark his steps to paradise.

The photo
above is of Pope Shenouda sitting on his throne one last time before burial.
Perhaps the Roman bishops would like to adopt this practice.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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