Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Coptic Pope Elected - Bishop Tawadros of Beheira

In a blend of modern style democracy and ancient custom, a blind-folded boy choosing by lot has selected Bishop Tawadros of Beheira to be the 118th Pope and Lord Archbishop of the Great City of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy Apostolic Holy See of St Mark the Evangelist and Holy Apostle. He becomes the leader, not just of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, but of the rapidly growing Coptic diaspora in Britain, the USA, Australia and other parts of the world. 

The 4 Nov 2012 selection took place at Cairo’s St Marks’ Cathedral in the Abbaisya district of Cairo and began with acting pope, Archbishop Pachomios, reading out the names of the three finalists selected last week by the church’s synod of bishop and lay council of some 2,400 Church and community officials. 

The names were then written on three pieces of paper and placed in a black box that was sealed with red wax. 

At the close of the Sunday morning service of Holy Communion the sealed box was placed on the altar and opened by the archbishop. An altar boy, Bishoy Gerges Mossad, was blindfolded and his hand guided to the box containing three slips of paper – one slip inscribed with the name of Bishop Raphael of Heliopolis, the second with Fr. Raphael Ava Mina of St Mina Monastery near Alexandria, and the third with the name of Bishop Tawadros. 

In a tradition dating that according to church lore dates to the time of the apostles and the Book of Acts, the choice of a pope for the Egyptian church was given to the Holy Spirit acting through selection by lot - and the name revealed to the church was that of Bishop Tawadros. 

The new pope succeeds Pope Shenouda III who died in March after 40 years on the throne of St Mark. Bishop Tawadros (59) serves as an auxiliary bishop of Beheira and an aide to Archbishop Pachomios. Born in 1952, Bishop Tawadros has a degree in pharmacy from Alexandria University and was consecrated a bishop in 1997. He will be installed as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church on 18 November. 

Bishop Tawadros has studied in Britain, and has also run a medicine factory. He is said to be a man of broad experience with managerial skills. His election comes at a crucial time for the Copts as they face an uncertain future in a country now debating the role of Islam following last year's revolution.

 (Sources: George Conger in Anglican Link; BBC News; ABC News; U.K. Daily Mail)


Post a Comment