Guest / Limited Access /

Egyptian Christians are mourning the passing of 88-year-old Coptic Orthodox Pope and Patriarch Shenouda III (August 3, 1923—March 17, 2012). He died in Cairo today after a lengthy illness. He had both back and kidney problems, according to local news reports.

Pope Shenouda was extremely popular among millions of everyday Christians. A charismatic reformer and an advocate of Christian rights and interests in a predominantly Muslim country, many considered him to be just like a father.

Egyptian Muslims liked him for his critical stance towards Israel, but both Christian and Muslim intellectuals were critical of his mixing politics with religion. No doubt he was the most influential Christian leader in twentieth-century Egypt. He was co-founder and editor-in-chief of Sunday School Magazine in 1947, was consecrated as monk in 1954, became Bishop of Education in 1962, and Pope in 1971.

"We lost today a great icon. His presence was crucial in repelling many threats against the country," Amin Eskandar, a member in the People's Assembly (parliament's lower house), told state television channel Nile News (as quoted by the Egyptian newspaper Ahram). "His patriotism and wise approaches to any issue were very helpful. May God compensate us for the loss of that great man."

In 2002, Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Bishoi, secretary of the Synod since 1985, described the dramatic changes during Pope Shenouda's reign. He said the number of monks, priests, bishops, church servants, and churches dramatically increased. Monasteries expanded as never before since the arrival of Islam in Egypt.

During Pope Shenouda's term, the migration of Copts increased tremendously as a consequence of better economic perspectives and a search for greater freedoms ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueIn the Image of Our Choosing
Subscriber Access Only
In the Image of Our Choosing
In a new era of genetics, where’s the line between healing and enhancement?
RecommendedWhat Evangelicals Living Under Putin Think of Trump
What Evangelicals Living Under Putin Think of Trump
Protestants and Orthodox alike are mostly hopeful about America’s new president.
TrendingTrump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Trump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s ERLC.
Editor's PickThe Title IX Lives of Christian Colleges
The Title IX Lives of Christian Colleges
Why CCCU schools are split on claiming one of their legal rights.
Christianity Today
Egypt's Pope Shenouda III Dead at 88
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.