Coptic Christians select their 118th pope

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shrine of St. Athanasius in St Mark's Cathedral, Cairo.
Image: Kyrillos2.

Yesterday, the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt selected the 60-year-old Bishop Tawadros from Beheira in the Nile Delta as the new leader of the church in a ceremony held at St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo. The ceremony which selected Tawadros consisted of an altar boy wearing a blindfold picking one of three names from a chalice.

The election process follows the death in March of the previous leader, Pope Shenouda III. Tawadros will formally take his position as pope on November 18.

The Coptic Orthodox Church represents six to ten percent of the 83 million people of Egypt and is the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and the election of the Muslim Brotherhood there have been a number of violent attacks on Copts as well as complaints of discrimination.