Het hoofd van de koptische kerk in Egypte, Paus Shenouda III, is 88 jaar geworden.
Het hoofd van de koptische kerk in Egypte is zaterdag overleden. Dat heeft het Egyptische staatspersbureau MENA bekendgemaakt.
De kerkleider bezweek volgens MENA aan lever- en longaandoeningen die hem al jaren parten speelden. Een koptische televisiezender vertoonde zaterdag een portret van de overleden paus met het onderschrift ‘De koptische kerk bidt tot God dat hij in de armen van heiligen in vrede mag rusten’.
Shenouda III leidde de Koptische christelijke kerk voor generaties
De koptische patriarch, die in het Arabisch met ‘Baba Shenouda’ werd aangeduid, leidde zijn Koptisch-Orthodoxe Kerk ruim dertig jaar lang. Aanhangers zagen Shenouda als beschermheer tegen de dreiging die volgens veel kopten uitgaat van de islamitische meerderheid in hun land. De paus bleef het bewind van de gehate president Hosni Mubarak lang steunen, omdat de belangen van de christelijke minderheid in zijn ogen daarmee het best waren gediend.
De kopten, die tien procent uitmaken van de 85 miljoen Egyptenaren, kregen het afgelopen jaar te maken met toenemend geweld en gingen vaak de straat op om te protesteren tegen het uitblijven van stappen tegen de daders.
De kopten klagen al lang over discriminatie door de staat en vooroordelen van de moslimmeerderheid. Christenen worden zelden op belangrijke posten in de veiligheidsdiensten of bij de overheid benoemd en hun overtuigingen worden vaak door radicale moslimgeestelijken door het slijk gehaald.
The Old Eagles Are Flying Home to their Maker,
to make room for the Changing of the guard,
For the Next Pope to take The seat.
the Countdown of 2012, is well on the Way.
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. Exodus 19-4
Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high? Job 39-27.
CNN's Ian Lee reports on the death of the man who led generations of Egypt's Coptic Christians.
For Egypt's estimated 10 million Coptic Christians, he was a religious thinker and a charismatic leader, known for his sense of humour - his smiling portrait was hung in many Coptic homes and shops.
Above all, many Copts saw him as the guardian of their minority living amid a majority Muslim population in this country of more than 80 million people.
Shenouda sought to do so by striking a conservative balance. During the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, he gave strong support to his government, while avoiding pressing Coptic demands too vocally in public to prevent a backlash from Muslim conservatives.
After Mubarak's fall a year ago, Christians grew increasingly worried over the rising power of Muslim conservatives.
Islamic hard-liners carried out a string of attacks on churches, and their clerics gave increasingly dire warnings that Christians were hoarding weapons and seeking to take over the country. Christian anger over the violence was further stoked when troops harshly put down a Christian protest in Cairo, killing 27 people.
In an unprecedented move aimed at showing unity, leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood along with top generals from the ruling military joined Shenouda for services for Orthodox Christmas in January at Cairo's main cathedral.
"For the first time in the history of the cathedral, it is packed with all types of Islamist leaders in Egypt," Shenouda told the gathering.
"They all agree ... on the stability of this country and in loving it, and working for it and to work with the Copts as one hand for the sake of Egypt."
Still, a sector of Christians - particularly among youth who supported the revolution against Mubarak - grew critical of Shenouda, saying his conservative approach was not doing enough to stem what they saw as growing anti-Christian violence and discrimination against their community.
In recent years, the aging patriarch travelled repeatedly to the United States for treatment. Yasser Ghobrial, a physician who worked at a Cairo hospital when the pope was treated there in 2007, said he suffered from prostate cancer that spread to his colon and lungs.
The pope, who rose to his position in 1971, clashed significantly with the government once: In 1981 then-President Anwar Sadat sent him into internal exile in the desert monastery of Wadi Natrun, north of Cairo, after Shenouda accused the government of failing to rein in Muslim extremists.
Sadat, who was assassinated later that year by Islamic militants, accused Shenouda of fomenting sectarianism.
The seat of the Pharaos are Coming Down,
Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don't know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go." Exodus 5-2.
The patriarch, known in Arabic as Baba Shenouda, headed one of the most ancient churches in the world, which traced it founding to St. Mark, who is said to have brought Christianity to Egypt in the 1st Century.
Father in Jesus name we ask, May this man Rest in your Peace.
Archbishop of Canterbury resigns to take position at Magdalene College
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