Saturday, March 31, 2012

FASTING - Part 2 - By Pope Shenouda III

THE BENEFITS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FASTING
HH Pope Shenouda III


Part 2:

Among the most beautiful words also said about the spiritual effect of fasting is:
 
The relationship between fasting and casting out evil spirits:

The Lord talked about this in the miracle of casting out a stubborn demon, the thing that His Disciples failed to do... The Lord then said: “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Mt 17:21)... Because the prayer of the one who is fasting has its spirituality and its effect, the one who is fasting is closer to God and stronger than the demons.

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Fasting was used by the saints during times of tribulations.

We have a very clear example of that in the fasting of Esther and all the Jews when they were confronted by Haman’s conspiracy (Esther 4:16), and the Lord’s response was quick and amazing. We also hear about the fasting of Nehemiah when he heard the news that: “The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down and its gates are burned with fire” (Neh 1:3,4). The book of Nehemiah also tells about the Lord’s response and how it was quick and amazing... The Bible also tells us about how Ezra and Hobak fasted and the effect it had on cleansing and purifying the people. The Bible also tells us about the fasting of the Prophet Daniel and its effect (Dan 9:3,21) and (Dan 10:3,12).

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Fasting also had its effect in the field of repentance...

The people of Ninevah repented. Their repentance was not only by turning from the life of evil, but it was mixed with great fasting and asceticism of both the king and all the people. God accepted their fasting and their repentance and forgave them their sins (Jon 3).

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The most impressive saying about the mixture of repentance with fasting is what the divine inspiration said in the book of the Prophet Joel: “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12) and the Prophet David explains the depth of his fasting and says: “I humbled myself with fasting” (Ps 35:13), and “I wept and chastened my soul with fasting” (Ps 69:10).
And many of the prayers of the fathers and the prophets, asking for forgiveness, were accompanied by fasting such as the prayers of Daniel and Ezra, asking forgiveness for the sins of the people.

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Fasting also has its relation to the service.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the most outstanding model of that, as He started His service by fasting for forty days. And following His steps, so do all the fathers the bishops and the newly ordained priests, they start their ministerial service by fasting... The saintly Apostles themselves started their service also by fasting. In them it was confirmed what the Lord said: “When the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast” (Mk 2:20).

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Fasting not only took place at the beginning of the service of our fathers the apostles, but it also took place during their service: “...In fastings often” (2 Cor 11:27). St Paul also says: “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God... In labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings...” (2 Cor 6:4,5).

Have you tried, my brother, in your life to fast for the service and for solving problems in general?


From the book - The Spiritual Means
 By HH Pope Shenouda III

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

FASTING - Part 1 - By Pope Shenouda III

  
 THE BENEFITS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FASTING

HH Pope Shenouda III  

Part 1: 

Fasting is one of the most important spiritual means. But why?

First of all, because it helps us keep self-control. 


As the one fasting abstains from eating and drinking generally for a period of time, he stops himself from eating whatever relates to animal fat. And so he restraint. In the process of restraining from food and drink, he will also restrain himself from committing sins. 


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God put this element of restrain from the beginning when He asked Adam and Eve to abstain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Here, He put the principle of self-control. from the beginning of the history of humanity, to make us fully realise that freedom does not mean lack of restrain. Although God was very generous with Adam and Eve and gave them permission to eat from "every tree of the garden", but He put a rule, which was to refrain from eating from a particular tree (Gen 2:16,17) and (Gen 3:3).


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Maybe we fully realise here the seriousness of the phrase that King Solomon said, expressing his unrestrained pleasure: "Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them" (Eccles 2:10).  So eventually he lost his wisdom and sinned. "His heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David" (1Kings 11:4). And many desires caused him to stumble…..


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Fasting is also an evidence of being elevated above the level of the body. 



In it, we do not give the body all that it asks or desires of food. By so doing, we are elevated above bodily desires. We are even being elevated above materialism in general. And so we give the spirit a chance to take it's opportunity, remembering the Lord's saying: "Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life" (Jn 6:27). And the Apostle's saying: "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom 8:6).
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The spirit becomes stinger during fasting.
 


During fasting, our prayers are also deeper and our contemplations are deeper. Our relationship with God becomes stinger, even our hymns also. There is a big difference between recording one of the Pascha hymns during the Passion Week and recording the same hymn at a non- fasting period. The effect of fasting on the spirit is not restricted to Christians only but the Hindus, the Yogies and the Buddhists find spiritual strength in exercises of fasting and asceticism. Their spirits become more pure…
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Fasting then is not of benefit only to fight against the negatives but it also benefits positively in strengthening the spirit.

Therefore we find that most of the spiritual occasions are preceded by fasting.
 


The church sacraments for example, such as Baptism, Myron (Chrism), Holy Communion and Priesthood have to be preceded by fasting. Receiving the blessing of tests is preceded by fasting. We fast for many long weeks before Christmas and Easter, before the Feast of the Apostles, the Fest of the Virgin Mary and for the Epiphany we fast the day before (the Baramoun). How beautiful is the saying in the Acts of the Apostles, (before the laying on of hands on barnabas and saul): "As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said; Now separate for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away" (Acts 13:2,3).


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From the book - The Spiritual Means
 By HH Pope Shenouda III

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Honoring Beloved Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt

By Michael Terheyden
        3/22/2012
        Catholic Online


He was a man of courageous Christian faith in an age which needs many more.


After battling cancer for years, the beloved leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his Holiness Pope Shenouda III, succumbed to his illness. Despite having to balance fierce tensions between his people, especially the youth, the Muslim People, extremist groups, and the Egyptian government, Pope Shenouda was largely seen as charismatic and highly esteemed. He was a man of courageous Christian faith in an age which needs many more.
 KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - After battling cancer for years, on March 17, 2012, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his Holiness Pope Shenouda III, succumbed to his illness. He was 88 years old. According to one estimate, well over 100,000 mourners visited his body, which was seated on a ceremonial throne and dressed in gold and red vestments. A gold mitre was placed on his head and a gold-tipped staff placed in his hand. Pope Shenouda III led the Copts for the last 40 years of a 2000 year history that is both rich and tragic.

The Coptic Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. They trace their origins back to the first century and Saint Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, and the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. The Coptic Church has members in many countries throughout the world, though it is centered in Alexandria, Egypt. It is also the largest religious minority in the Middle East.

Many Copts converted to Islam after Muslim armies conquered Egypt in the seventh century because if they did not, they either had to pay excessively high taxes or they were killed. Many Copts were martyred as a result. Those who paid the tax, while they were allowed to remain Christian, lost many of their rights and were forced to live as second-class citizens. Life for the Copts improved somewhat in the 19th century, but it declined in the mid-twentieth century.

In was in this environment that Pope Shenouda served and rose in the ecclesial ranks. He was born Nazeer Gayed Roufail on August 3, 1923, in Assiut, Egypt. Nazeer became a monk at the age of 31. He was a member of the monastery of St. Anthony for six years, but he lived in a cave as a hermit, where he dedicated his time to meditation, prayer and asceticism.

He was later ordained into the diaconate in Christ and then the holy priesthood. In 1962 he was appointed to the bishopric of Christian Education and served as Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary, and he was given the name Shenouda, after the renowned Coptic scholar and writer Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite. Then, on November 14, 1971, he was elected as the 117th head, the Patriarch, the "father" of the Coptic Church.

Pope Shenouda authored many books and gave weekly lecturers. His themes often revolved around peace, dialogue, and forgiveness. He was also known as a staunch advocate of authentic ecumenism, that is, of restoring Christian unity. To this end, he met with Pope Paul VI in 1973 and signed the Joint Declaration of Faith. Then in 2000, he met with Blessed Pope John Paul II in Cairo, Egypt.

His relations with the Egyptian government and Muslim extremists were not so cordial. In 1981, President Anwar Sadat put him under house arrest at a desert monastery because he accused the government of not dealing with Muslim extremists, the same extremists who assassinated Sadat later that year.

After Hosni Mubarak became president, he released Shenouda. Together they managed to walk a fine line. Under Mubarak, the Copts found greater, but tenuous, security. However, they remained second-class citizens. Since the fall of Mubarak a little over one year ago, violence against the Copts has risen. Furthermore, Muslim fundamentalists, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, were the primary beneficiaries of Egypt's recent elections. This causes much concern among Coptic Christians.

Due largely to the discrimination against the Copts in Egypt, Pope Shenouda presided over an unprecedented worldwide expansion of the Coptic Orthodox Church. In 1971, there were apparently only a handful of Coptic parishes on the North American continent; today there are over 200 parishes in the United States and 23 in Canada. There are also parishes in Mexico, South America, and Australia.

Despite having to balance fierce tensions between his people, especially the youth, the Muslim People, extremist groups, and the Egyptian government, Pope Shenouda was largely seen as charismatic and highly esteemed. An article about Pope Shenouda in Wikipedia lists numerous accolades from people representing a broad array of social, political, and religious backgrounds. Some of them are as follows:

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt acknowledged Shenouda's wish of "preserving the unity of Egypt and the unity of its social fabric." In addition, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the Council leader, decreed three days of mourning for state employed Christians.

Mohamed Morsi, the party chairman for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, referred to Shenouda's life as "a long journey of big contribution in various fields domestically and abroad."

Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri said, "I give my sincere condolences to the Coptic brothers home and abroad. [He was a] national character and a symbol for patriotism and he gained wide respect and appreciation from the Egyptian people." ...



http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=45321


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cWUxrsedjAQ




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Three killed, 52 injured as grieving Copts bid farewell to Pope Shenouda III

NewsCore March 19, 2012
Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church, when he led prayers at the Coptic Cathedral. Pic. Ap Source: AP

THREE killed, dozens injured when thousands packed Cairo Cathedral to farewell to Pope Shenouda III.

The trio died of suffocation inside the cathedral, church official Anba Younnes told The (London) Times.


CNN, citing Deputy Health Minister Hisham Sheeha, said overcrowding in the building resulted in a stampede, killing the three mourners and injuring 52 others. Most of the injured suffered from low blood pressure and insufficient oxygen.

Shenouda died Saturday at age 88 after a long illness, setting in motion the process to elect a new patriarch for the Middle East's largest Christian community, AFP reported.

He led the Copts, estimated at 10 percent of Egypt's population of more than 80 million, for a whole generation, during which the country was hit by a wave of Islamist militancy from which he sought to protect his flock.

Tens of thousands of mourners converged on the cathedral in a line that stretched for nearly a mile (1.6km), as military vehicles lined the road outside.

Shenouda's body, dressed in formal robes with a golden crown on his head, was placed upright on the tall ornate papal throne where it will remain sitting in state until the funeral Tuesday.

A bishop knelt to one side pressing his head to the throne, as thousands of worshippers in black hoping for a final blessing from their spiritual leader took pictures of Shenouda on their mobile phones, amid tears and wails of grief.

Copts nationwide mourned Shenouda, and one woman in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, distraught by his passing, was hospitalized after trying to commit suicide, the official MENA news agency reported.

Based on wishes stated in his will, Shenouda will be buried at St. Bishoy monastery of Wadi Natrun in the Nile Delta, where he spent time in exile after a dispute with the late president Anwar Sadat, state media reported.

Bishop Pachomious of the Nile Delta province of Beheira has assumed papal duties for two months until a council of senior clergy meets to choose a new pope, state television said.

The new pope would be chosen according to procedures laid out in 1957 church bylaws.
Shenouda leaves behind a nervous community, a target of frequent sectarian attacks in recent years, with complaints of routine harassment and systematic discrimination and marginalization.

Egypt's Christians are particularly concerned over the rise and increased assertiveness of Islamists, following the uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.







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Egypt's Christians bid farewell to pope

HH Pope Shenouda III

From correspondents in Cairo AP March 21, 2012 4:39AM 

TEARFUL and wearing mourning black, tens of thousands of Egyptian Coptic Christians have joined a funeral Mass for their patriarch, Pope Shenouda III, at the main cathedral in Cairo.

St Mark's Cathedral was packed with local clerics, visiting clergymen and dignitaries as deacons chanted sombre hymns and bearded, black-clad priests and monks recited prayers and dispensed incense smoke from censers.

Shenouda's body lay in a white casket in the elaborate regalia he traditionally wore to oversee services, complete with an ornate golden crown.

Many in the congregation broke down in tears, while others frantically waved goodbye as the Mass came to a close.

Clerics, deacons and laypeople gathered around the casket, kissing it, standing in silence or bowing in respect.
Shenouda died on Saturday aged 88 after serving for 40 years at the helm of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the world's oldest Christian denominations. Most of Egypt's estimated 10 million Christians are Orthodox Copts.

A successor has yet to be named, and it could take months before the complex process is completed.

Egypt's Coptic Christians have long complained of discrimination by the nation's Muslim majority. The political ascent of Islamists since the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak a year ago has added to their worries.

Tens of thousands followed the Mass outside the cathedral, carrying portraits of Shenouda and crosses. Many wept, wiping tears from their faces as the melancholic tunes of the hymns reached them through loudspeakers.

Scores of military police were deployed to maintain security outside the cathedral. The normally congested traffic of central Cairo was backed up for hours because of the crowds. The cathedral is located on a main downtown artery.

"I know he is now in a better place, but it is difficult now he's gone. We miss you," said a grief-stricken Marianne Saad as she stood in the crowd outside the cathedral.

"After God, he was our only protector," lamented another young woman in the crowd. "We will miss him, but he will always be in our hearts," said a young Christian man, Hani Suleiman.

After the Mass, Shenouda's body was ferried to a military airport east of Cairo. From there it was flown to the Saint Bishoy monastery in the desert northwest of the capital, where he was to be buried later today.

Chaotic scenes erupted when a convoy of cars, including an ambulance carrying Shenouda's body, arrived at the monastery shortly before sunset. Military policemen struggled to control thousands of mourners who tried to push their way to the ambulance. Many in the crowd outside the monastery's walls tried to get inside when the convoy arrived but were kept out by the soldiers.

The monastery, which dates back to the 4th century, was a favourite of Shenouda's. He spent more than three years of exile there after he was banished in 1981 by Egypt's then-President Anwar Sadat, who claimed the patriarch was fomenting sectarian strife. Sadat's successor, Mubarak, released the Pope in 1985.

Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, declared a nationwide state of mourning today.


http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/egypts-christians-bid-farewell-to-pope/story-e6freuyi-1226305781462



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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pope Shenouda III, head of Egypt’s Coptic Christian church, dies at 88

By Associated Press, Published: March 18

CAIRO, Egypt — Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt’s Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. He was 88.


His death comes as the country’s estimated 10 million Christians are feeling more vulnerable than ever amid the rise of Islamic movements to political power after the toppling a year ago of President Hosni Mubarak. The months since have seen a string of attacks on the community, heightened anti-Christian rhetoric by ultraconservatives known as Salafis and fears that coming goverments will try to impose strict versions of Islamic law.


Tens of thousands of Christians packed into the main Coptic cathedral in Cairo on Saturday evening hoping to see his body. Women in black wept and screamed. Some, unable to get into the overcrowded building, massed outside, raising their hands in prayer.

“He left us in a very hard time. Look at the country and what’s happening now,” said Mahrous Munis, a Christian IT worker in his 30s who was among the crowds. “Copts are in a worse situation than before. God be with us.”


Munis’ friend, Sherif Sabry, interrupted. “He was our rock. God help us find someone who can fill his place.”

An archbishop later announced to the crowd that the funeral would be held in three days, and in the meantime Shenouda’s body would be put on display in the cathedral, sitting in the Mar Morqos — or St. Mark — throne from which the pope in his elaborate regalia traditionally oversaw services.

Shenouda died in his residence at the cathedral, and the state news agency MENA said he had been battling liver and lung problems for several years. Yasser Ghobrial, a physician who treated Shenouda at a Cairo hospital in 2007, said he suffered from prostate cancer that spread to his colon and lungs.


U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to Shenouda as “an advocate for tolerance and religious dialogue.”

“We will remember Pope Shenouda III as a man of deep faith, a leader of a great faith, and an advocate for unity and reconciliation,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. “His commitment to Egypt’s national unity is also a testament to what can be accomplished when people of all religions and creeds work together.”

“Baba Shenouda,” as he was known to his followers, headed one of the most ancient churches in the world. The Coptic Church traces its founding to St. Mark, who is said to have brought Christianity to Egypt in the 1st Century.

For Egypt’s Christians, he was a charismatic leader, known for his sense of humor — his smiling portrait was hung in many Coptic homes and shops — and a deeply conservative religious thinker who resisted calls by liberals for reform.

Above all, many Copts saw him as the guardian of their community living amid a Muslim majority in this country of more than 80 million people. Christians have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens, saying they face discrimination and that police generally fail to prosecute those behind anti-Christian attacks.






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Chaos as Coptic Pope laid to rest

    March 21, 2012 4:49AM
 Funeral: Priests officiate at the funeral of Coptic Pope Shenuda III in St Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, as thousands of mourners paid their respects yesterday. 


EGYPT'S Coptic Pope Shenuda has been buried in a desert monastery amid near-hysterical scenes.

Following a funeral service at Cairo's St Mark's Cathedral, Shenuda's body was flown some 100 kilometres by military aircraft to Beheira province in the northwest, where the motorcade took it to St Bishoy monastery in Wadi Natrun.

There, lines of military police at the entrance to the monastery crumbled under the force of thousands of screaming worshippers who rushed the convoy.

One woman hung precariously from the ambulance carrying the patriarch's body, as panicked officers shouted and tried to push back the heaving crowds.

His body was finally taken into the 4th century monastery where Shenuda had asked to be buried, a large cross of flowers placed over his marble resting place. Mourners clambered over each other to snatch flowers and kiss the tomb.

Shenuda died on Saturday aged 88 after a long illness, leaving behind a community increasingly anxious about the rise of Islamism and political uncertainty.

During the funeral service, Shenuda's body, dressed in robes and a gold crown, lay in an open coffin as patriarchs of Orthodox churches said prayers.

Pallbearers struggled to get the white coffin out of the vast cathedral in the capital.
They had to push through a sea of mourners who threw rose petals and waved white lilies amid near-hysterical scenes as people pressed forward to try to touch the coffin, causing it to tilt several times.

Coptic hymns and incense filled the church as clergy, officials and choirboys wept and waved goodbye to their spiritual leader, the head of the Middle East's largest Christian community.

Members of Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces attended the service, as did parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and several Egyptian ministers, MPs and other public figures, both Christian and Muslim.

Crowds waited, some all night, for a chance to attend the service, which officials had said would be by invitation only. Those who could not get in massed outside to pay their respects.
At one point, the gate to the cathedral compound was opened, causing a stampede into the courtyard before church officials scrambled to close it again.

Prayers were led by the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos.
"Because he is resting does not mean we have lost him," Abune Paulos said at the emotional service, aired live on television.

Yesterday had been declared a day of national mourning in Egypt. Flags nationwide were flown at half mast, and an unprecedented security plan was put in place in Cairo and in the Nile Delta province of Beheira.

Shenuda's death brought tens of thousands of Copts to the cathedral to bid a final farewell.
Ahead of the funeral, the pope's body, dressed in gold, white and crimson robes, a gilded crown on his head, was placed seated on the ornate papal throne, a carved image of Christ behind him and lions standing guard on either side.

Devastated worshippers thronged to catch a final glimpse of "Baba Shenuda," using mobile phones to take pictures of him.

Three mourners were crushed to death in the crowd on Sunday, and 137 people were injured, prompting church officials to cut short the viewing and close the cathedral to the public.
Shenuda's death set in motion the process to elect a new patriarch, who will lead the community through a critical phase marked by political instability and sectarian tensions.


The new pope will be chosen by a council made up of senior clergy, current and former Coptic public officials, MPs, local councillors and journalists, in a process that could take months.

News of Shenuda's death caused dismay among Egypt's beleaguered Coptic population, many of whom credited him with maintaining a cool head during challenging times and helping to prevent widespread sectarian unrest.

But his critics saw him as being too close to the government, refusing to speak up for the community in the face of sectarian attacks, discrimination and harassment.

Named pope of Alexandria in 1971, Shenuda led the Copts, estimated at 10 per cent of Egypt's population of 80 million, for a generation. During that time, Egypt was hit by a wave of Islamist militancy from which he sought to protect his people.

Copts have been particularly concerned about the political fallout from the Arab spring uprising that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak in February last year.

Islamist parties, including ultra-conservative Salafists who believe Christians should not have a say in ruling the country, won almost three-quarters of the seats in the first parliamentary elections since the revolt.

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Synaxarium - 16 Baramhat - 25 March - 16 Megabit


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Egyptian Synaxarium Baramhat 16
THE SEVENTH MONTH
(March 25)

Baramhat (Paremhat, Paramhat, Beremhat, Baremhat) 16 Martyr – Coptic Calendar – Martyr Calendar


The Departure Of The Saint Anba Khail (Mikhail) The Forty Six Pope Of The See Of St. Mark

On this day of the year 483 A.M. (March 12th, 767 A.D.) the holy father Anba Khail (Mikhail), the forty six Pope of the See Of St. Mark, departed. This father was a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius and he was knowledgeable and ascetic. When Pope Theodorus the forty fifth Patriarch, his predecessor, departed the bishops of Lower Egypt (Delta) and the priests of Alexandria gathered in the church of Anba Shenouda in Cairo.

A Dispute arose among them about who was fit, and finally they called Anba Mousa, Bishop of Ouseem, and Anba Petros, Bishop of Mariout. When they arrived, Anba Mousa found the priests of Alexandria obstinate, he rebuked them for that, and dismissed them that night so their minds and souls might calm down. When they met the next day he mentioned to them the name of the priest Khail the monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. They unanimously agreed to his choice and obtained a decree from the Governor of Egypt to the elders of the wilderness of Sheahat (Wadi El-Natroun) to bring him from the monastery. On their way, when they arrived to Geza they found father Khail coming along with some elders to fulfill a certain task connected with the monastery. They seized him, bound him, and took him to Alexandria where they ordained him Patriarch on the 17th day of Tute, year 460 A.M. (September 14th., year 743 A.D.).

It Happened that there was a drought in the city of Alexandria for two years, and on that day the rain fell heavily for three days and the people of Alexandria considered that a good omen.

During the reign of Marawan the last of the Khalifas of the Umayyad rule and during the governorship of Hefs Ebn El-Walid and during the days of this father many great tribulations fell upon the believers.

A large number of the believers fled from Egypt and the number of those who denied Christ was twenty-four thousand, and because of that the Patriarch was in great sorrow until God perished those were responsible for that. This father endured many difficulties from Abdel Malek Ebn-Marawan the new governor. He imprisoned, beaten, chained, and tortured him with many other ways of painful tortures, then he released him. The Patriarch went to Upper Egypt to collect alms and when he came back, the Governor took the money from him and threw him back in prison.

When Keriakos king of Nuba knew that, he was extremely enraged, he prepared one hundred thousand soldiers and marched down to Egypt. Going threw Upper Egypt he slew all the Muslims that he met, until he reached El Fostat (Cairo), he camped around the city threatening to destroy it. When Abdel Malek the Governor saw the army surrounding the city and that all this had taken place for the sake of the Patriarch, he became terrified, so he released him from prison with great honor. The Governor entreated the Patriarch to mediate peace between him and the king of Nuba. The Patriarch agreed to his request, so he went with some of the clergy to meet the king and asked him to accept the peace from abdel Malek which the king accepted and returned back.

Abdel Malek respected the Christians and lifted up all his retribution. When the father the Patriarch prayed for the sake of the Governor's daughter, who was possessed with an unclean spirit, and with his prayers the unclean spirit left her, the Governor increased his respect for the Christians.

This father debated with Cosmas the Melchite Patriarch concerning the Hypostatic Union. Pope Khail wrote him a letter, signed it along with his bishops, which said in it: "It is not right to say that in Christ two distinct Natures or two distinct Persons after the Hypostatic Union." Cosmas was convinced with that and asked to become a bishop under the authority of Anba Khail. When Anba Khail completed his strife, he departed to the Lord whom he loved after he had spent on the Chair of St. Mark twenty-three and half years.

May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.


Ethiopian Synaxarium MEGABIT 16
THE SEVENTH MONTH
MEGABIT (Mägabit, Megabit) (መጋቢት) 16 - Geez (Ge'ez) Calendar – Ethiopian Calendar
(March 25)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,ONE GOD. AMEN.

On this day died the holy and honorable father Abba Michael, the forty-sixth Archbishopof the city of Alexandria. This father was a monk in the church of Saint Abba Macarius in the desert of Scete, and he was a strenuous and devoted ascetic. When the holy father Abba Theodore, the archbishop who had been appointed before him, died, the fathers who were bishops sat for several days in a body in Mesr (Cairo), debating and trying to discover who was the most suitable man for the office of archbishop. And a certain righteous man,on whom was the grace of prophecy, told them, saying, “I was in the church of Saint Abba Macarius praying, when I heard a voice from heaven which said, Michael is worthy, and he is the man who is suitable for the office.” And the bishops discussed together the virtues and righteousness of Michael, and they agreed concerning him, and they obtained from the governor of Mesr (Cairo) an order in writing to bring him from his monastery. And they seized him, and bound him, and took him and made him archbishop on the seventeenth day of the month of Meskerem in the sixty-fourth year of the [Era of] Diocletian, (now that day was a festival of the Cross in the monastery of Abba Macarius) in the days of Al-Walid, the son of Hasimo (i.e. the ‘Umayyad Khalifah Al-Walid II, the son of Hisham, A.D. 724 -744), and in the days of Warwan Al-Gadin. And the men of the city of Alexandria remained for many years without rain, that is to say there was no heavy rain, only showers. And on the day whereon this father was appointed archbishop, there was much rain, and the second and the third rains were very heavy. In the days of this father very great tribulation fell upon the Christian folk; and very many of the believers fled from the land of Egypt. And the number of men who denied Christ was twenty-four thousand. And because of these things this father archbishop sorrowed with very great sorrow, until atlength God did away the causes of this thing, which were due to Him. In the days of this father, an archbishop was appointed over the Malakawiyan (Malachite), whose name was Cosmas, and this father debated with him concerning the unity of the Nature of our Lord Christ. And Cosmas believed that it was even as this father said, and he wrote with his own hand, saying, “Our Lord Christ hath His Unity, one Nature in His Incarnation, even as Cyril the archbishop saith.” And his bishops wrote the same thing with their own hands,saying, “It is not right to say concerning our Lord Christ and to assign to Him after His Unity two distinct Natures and two distinct Persons, like two men.” And they agreed about this Faith, and they assigned to him one holy, general and Apostolic Church. And Cosmas,the Archbishop of the Malakawiyan (Malachite), was pleased to be Archbishop of the city of Mesr (Cairo), and they all agreed about this counsel. But among them was one corrupt person, a certain man who was a Malachite, and whose name was Anastasius, who objected to this; he was an Alexandrine, and he wished them to make him archbishop, and they appointed him. And when they would not agree, Constantinus, Bishop of Mesr (Cairo), was pleased; now he was under the authority of Abba Michael. On this man there fell great tribulation from the rule of the oppressors, and they punished him most severely.They beat him with many strips, and they bound him with fetters of iron, and they shut him up in prison for many days; and they brought him before the judges of the government so that they might cut off his head. And God saved him in order to protect the flock of the people. And there was great torturing (or, persecution) in the days of the reign of Marwan (Marwan II, A.D. 744), [and] in the days of the governorship of Gabra Iyasus, the son of Muse (Moses), the son of Nasir, who withdrew from Judaism to Islam. And he shut up the archbishop in prison, and demanded money from him; then he showed him kindness and brought him out, and then he banished him. And he departed into Upper Egypt to beg foralms, and he brought back to the governor much money. And this holy man went into Upper Egypt, where he worked very many miracles, and he turned many of those who had denied our Lord Christ and brought them back into the Right Faith. When the King of Ethiopia heard the history of this father, and how the Muslim governor had punished him,and how they had shut him up in prison, he was filled with holy indignation, and he went down into Egypt, and he came to Upper Egypt, and laid waste many cities and spoiled them. When he went down to the land of Egypt there were with him ten thousand horses,and one hundred thousand mules, and one hundred thousand camels. When the King of Egypt knew that all this [invasion] had taken place for the sake of the archbishop, he released him from prison, and heaped great honors upon him; and in like manner he heaped exceedingly great honors upon the Christian people. Then the King of Egypt entreated this father to write a letter to the King of Ethiopia, and order him to return to his own country.And this father sent a letter to the King of Ethiopia where in he invoked blessings upon him, and upon his governors and generals, and all his army, and he said unto him, “Behold God hath delivered us from the bonds of captivity through thee. And now return to thy country in safety and peace, and God shall reward thee in the kingdom of heaven for the toil which thou hast undertaken for me.” When the King of Ethiopia had read the letter sent to him by this father Archbishop Abba Michael, he rose up quickly and returned to his country in peace. When the holy father had finished his good strife he departed to the God Whom he loved.Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen


MEGABIT (Mägabit, Megabit) (መጋቢት) 16 - Geez (Ge'ez) Calendar – Ethiopian Calendar = Baramhat (Paremhat, Paramhat, Beremhat, Baremhat) 16 Martyr – Coptic Calendar – Martyr Calendar


Baramhat - Coptic Calendar – Martyr Calendar = Megabit - Geez (Ge'ez) Calendar – Ethiopian Calendar

16 Baramhat = 16 Mägabit (መጋቢት)

Baramhat - also known as Baramhat, is the seventh month of the Coptic calendar. It lies between March 10 and April 8 of the Gregorian calendar. The Coptic name Paremhat comes from the Egyptian name of the month, pa-en-Amenhotep, "month of Amenhotep I", who was deified in the polytheistic Ancient Egyptian religion following his reign (ca. 1500 BC) – the month formerly known as Rekeh-nedjes being renamed in his honor.

Paremhat is also the third month of the Season of Proyet (Growth and Emergence) in Ancient Egypt, where the Nile floods recede and the crops start to grow throughout the land of Egypt.

In the Ethiopian calendar, the corresponding month is called Megabit

Gregorian Calendar equivalent: March 10 and April 8

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pope mourns passing of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox leader

Rome, Italy, Mar 19, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholic leaders have offered their condolences on the death of Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, who died March 17 at age 88.

The Catholic Church, Pope Benedict said, “shares the grief that afflicts the Orthodox Copts,” and “stands in fervent prayer asking that he, 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.”

Born in August of 1923, Nazeer Gayed was honored as the 117th “Pope of Alexandria” by Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt and abroad. Although theological differences separated his church from Catholics and other Orthodox churches, Pope Shenouda himself was known as an ecumenical pioneer.

In his March 18 message to the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Benedict recalled the leader's “commitment to Christian unity,” shown in meetings with Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. In 1973, Pope Shenouda and Pope Paul VI issued a declaration affirming key points of theological agreement.

Pope Benedict showed the same ecumenical warmth, as he mourned Pope Shenouda's “departure to God, our common Father,” and offered his “most sincere brotherly compassion” to the Coptic synod of bishops as well as their priests and faithful.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians have come to Cairo's Cathedral of St. Mark to honor the late Pope of Alexandria and view his body, which was vested and placed on the episcopal throne he occupied for four decades. He will be buried at a northern Egyptian monastery following a March 20 funeral.

The loss of the Coptic Orthodox leader comes at a difficult time for Egyptian Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population. Concerns about their future have intensified following the country's 2011 revolution, which was billed as non-sectarian but has led to the rise of Islamist political parties.

Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, mourned the loss of Pope Shenouda's leadership in his March 18 message.

The Coptic pope, he said, was “not only a religious leader for his church but also for all Christian churches,” particularly those of the Eastern traditions.

Patriarch Twal recalled how Pope Shenouda “continued his Christian mission in a firm confidence and a deep faith in the midst of a whirlwind of events that marked the Arab world.”

“We accompany with our prayers and send our condolences to his church and his beloved children, in recognition of all the great services to his church, his country and for all Christians in the Middle East. Grant him, O Lord, eternal rest, and may thy perpetual light shine on him.”



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Friday, March 23, 2012

Pope Shenouda III funeral: Egypt's Copts mourn their 'protector'

St Mark's Cathedral in central Cairo packed for ceremony after Coptic Christian leader's death on Saturday, aged 88
Hamza Hendawi and Maggie Michael in Cairo 
Tuesday 20 March 2012

 
 Tens of thousands of Egyptian Coptic Christians join a funeral 
mass for their pope in Cairo

 Tearful and wearing black, tens of thousands of Egyptian Coptic Christians joined a funeral mass for their patriarch, Pope Shenouda III, led by senior clerics at the main cathedral in Cairo.

St Mark's Cathedral was packed with local clerics, visiting clergymen and dignitaries as deacons chanted sombre hymns and bearded, black-clad priests and monks recited prayers and dispensed incense smoke from censers.

Shenouda's body lay in a white casket in the elaborate regalia he traditionally wore to oversee services, complete with an ornate golden crown.

Shenouda died on Saturday aged 88 after 40 years at the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the world's oldest Christian denominations. Most of Egypt's estimated 10 million Christians are Orthodox Copts.

Many in the congregation broke down in tears, while others frantically waved goodbye as the mass came to a close.

Clerics, deacons and laypeople gathered around the casket, kissing it, standing in silence or bowing in respect.

Tens of thousands more who could not get in followed the mass outside the cathedral, carrying crosses and portraits of Shenouda. Many wept, wiping tears off their faces as the melancholic tunes of the hymns reached them through loudspeakers.

Scores of military police were deployed to maintain security outside the cathedral, on one of central Cairo's main arteries, with traffic backed up for hours because of the crowds.

"I know he is now in a better place, but it is difficult now he's gone. We miss you," said a grief-stricken Marianne Saad as she stood in the crowd outside the cathedral.

"After God, he was our only protector," lamented another young woman in the crowd. "We will miss him, but he will always be in our hearts," said a young Christian man, Hani Suleiman.

After the mass, Shenouda's body was ferried to a military airport east of Cairo, from where it was to be flown later on Tuesday to the desert St Bishoy monastery north-west of the capital, where he will buried.

The monastery, which dates back to the 4th century, was a favourite of Shenouda's.
Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, declared a nationwide state of mourning on Tuesday.

A successor to Pope Shenouda has yet to be found and it could take months before the complex process is completed.

Egypt's Coptic Christians have long complained of discrimination by the nation's Muslim majority. The political ascent of Islamists since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak a year ago has added to their worries.

"Words, my beloved, can never do Pope Shenouda justice. He left us an example of leadership that we should all follow," a senior cleric said in an address to the congregation. "It is because of him that we have national unity with our Muslim brothers."

During his 40 years as patriarch, Shenouda strove to ensure his place among the Muslim powerbrokers, pressing demands behind the scenes while keeping Christians' anger over violence and discrimination in check. It was a delicate balancing act.

Shenouda maintained a high media profile, giving interviews, speaking on key domestic and regional developments and never showing anger at times of crisis.

Egyptian authorities deny any discrimination, but Christians say it happens in numerous and subtle ways. Christians, for example, rarely assume leadership jobs on the police force, particularly the security agencies. The Islamist-dominated parliament only has a handful of Christians, and there are never more than one or two Christians among 30-plus cabinet ministers.

As Egypt grew more religiously conservative over the past 40 years, the discrimination became more manifest in everyday life, particularly when Christians came into direct contact with government departments or enrolled their children at state schools, where Islamists often dominate teaching staff.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/20/pope-shenouda-funeral-egypt-coptic-christians?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/mar/20/pope-shenouda-funeral-egyptvideo 

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His Holiness Pope Shenouda III dies in Cairo

Posted on: Saturday, 17th March, 2012

 
Pope Shenouda III


A statement has just been received from His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, announcing the death of His Holiness Pope Shenouda on 17 March 2012

Further announcements will follow shortly.

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III died at 5.15 p.m. He suffered a heart attack, but was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
Copts all over the world are joining the mourning. Abba Seraphim, along with other Coptic clergy are on their way to Cairo to attend an urgent synod.

On Saturday evening, thousands of Copts gathered in the courtyard of Abbasiya Cathedral aiming to pay their last respects to the deceased patriarch. “We are not sure when this will be possible,” said one source. “Perhaps tomorrow.”

Another source indicated that no one would be admitted into the presence of the dead pope until the day of the funeral, “which will be held on Tuesday, three days from now, to make time for followers of the pope to come form across Egypt and from abroad.”

By Saturday evening, most presidential hopefuls, who had by and large made an effort to frequent Coptic mass since the end of the Mubarak regime, were offering their condolences.

“With one or two exceptions we expect all presidential hopefuls to be present in the funeral mass,” added the source, indicating that all state bodies, political parties and groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, had already contacted the church. “Many have been asking how they might pay their respects and participate in the funeral mass.”

Meanwhile, official and church sources said a high level state representation is scheduled for the funeral mass. The head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, is expected to be at the cathedral to offer his condolences, while SCAF’s second in command, Sami Annan, is expected to be present throughout the mass.

Tantawi decreed three days of official mourning for Copts.

Annan and several SCAF members were invited to attend Christmas Mass on 6 January despite the outrage of the Coptic public at the military’s conspicuous involvement in the tragedy that befell Coptic demonstrators on 9 October while they protested a series of attacks on Coptic churches across Egypt.

Diplomats and some foreign dignitaries are expected at the funeral which will probably take place at the Abbassiya Cathedral before the coffin is taken to the monastery in Wadi Al-Natroun for burial.

“We offer our deep condolences to every one of our Christian brothers for the loss of Pople Shenouda,” Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie said in a statement. “May God help all our Christian brothers overcome this ordeal and bring a successor who can keep promoting the sense of unity between all citizens,” he added.

An Egyptian army statement said that the Pope was a “rare statesman who worked with all of his energy to promote the wellbeing of the nation.”

Bishop Bakhomious (Pachomious) of Behera will head the Coptic Orthodox church for an interim period of two months. The General Congregation Council, which is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, will nominate three bishops, one of which is to succeed Pope Shenouda III.

The names of the three bishops will be written on three papers, and a child will pick one, unseen, from a box. This method is used in order for the “will of God” to play a role in the process.

http://britishorthodox.org/3180/his-holiness-pope-shenouda-iii-dies-in-cairo/ 


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Egypt's crowds mourn Coptic pope

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


The body of Pope Shenouda III at the Coptic Orthodox cathedral during his funeral in Cairo (AP)

Tens of thousands of Egyptian Coptic Christians joined a funeral mass for their patriarch, Pope Shenouda III, led by senior clerics at the main cathedral in Cairo today.

St. Mark's was packed with local clerics, visiting clergymen and dignitaries as deacons chanted sombre hymns and bearded, black-clad priests and monks recited prayers and dispensed incense smoke from censers. Shenouda's body lay in a white casket in the elaborate regalia he traditionally wore to oversee services, complete with an ornate golden crown.

Many in the congregation broke down in tears, while others frantically waved goodbye as the mass came to a close. Clerics, deacons and lay people gathered around the casket, kissing it, standing in silence or bowing in respect.

Tens of thousands more who could not get in followed the mass outside the cathedral, carrying portraits of Shenouda and crosses. Many wept, wiping tears off their faces as the melancholic tunes of the hymns reached them through loudspeakers.

Scores of military police were deployed to maintain security outside the cathedral, with the normally congested traffic of central Cairo backed up for hours because of the crowds. The cathedral is located on a main downtown artery.

Shenouda died on Saturday aged 88 after spending 40 years at the helm of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the world's most ancient Christian denominations. Most of Egypt's estimated 10 million Christians are Orthodox Copts.

After the mass, Shenouda's body was ferried to a military airport east of Cairo, from which it was to be flown to the desert St. Bishoy monastery north-west of the capital where he will buried.

The monastery, which dates back to the 4th century, has been a favourite of Shenouda's. He spent more than three years of exile there after he was banished in 1981 by late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who claimed the patriarch was fomenting sectarian strife. Sadat's successor, long-time authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, released the Pope in 1985.

Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, declared a nationwide state of mourning. A successor to Pope Shenouda has yet to be found and it could take months before the complex process is completed.

Egypt's Coptic Christians have long complained of discrimination by the nation's Muslim majority. The political ascent of Islamists since the ouster of Mubarak a year ago has added to their worries


http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/egypts-crowds-mourn-coptic-pope-16133592.html


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Egypt’s Coptic Pope dies at 88

Sunday, March 18, 2012 , by AFP


Coptic Pope Shenuda III in a picture dated October 20, 2008. Photo: AFP

Egypt’s Coptic Pope Shenuda III, spiritual leader of the Middle East’s largest Christian minority, died yesterday at the age of 88, state television and cathedral sources said.

The cause of death was not immediately clear, but the Christian leader has suffered health problems for years.

State television reported he was 89, but the pope was born in August 1923, which would make him 88 at the time of death.

The official MENA news agency said Shenuda suffered from several diseases, including liver problems and tumours or swelling in the lungs.

He was forced to cancel a weekly sermon last week over health concerns.

Named Coptic pope of Alexandria in 1971, Shenuda led the Copts, estimated at 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 80 million, for the best part of a generation that saw Egypt hit by a wave of Islamic militancy from which he sought to protect it.

News of Shenuda’s death was certain to cause dismay among Egypt’s beleaguered Coptic population, many of whom looked up to him as a spiritual guide.

He was placed under house arrest by former president Anwar Sadat for his outspoken criticism of Sadat’s courting of Islamists.

But Shenuda was supportive of Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown by a popular uprising more than a year ago which led to an Islamist-dominated parliament – the first in the country’s history.

Shenuda, immediately recognisable by his long white beard, was believed to have viewed the widely despised Mubarak as a bulwark against Islamists who believe Copts should not be allowed to rule the country.

He was seen as a check on more radical Copts who urged more forceful reactions to sectarian attacks that have plagued their community, especially after Mubarak’s ouster.

Theologically, Shenuda was conservative, slamming a court decision calling on his church to allow divorce.

Shenuda, whose community is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches that recognise the primacy of neither the Catholic papacy nor the Eastern Orthodox patriarchate, maintained a keen interest in promoting church unity.

He served as head of both the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches, and founded churches in several African countries.


http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120318/world/Egypt-s-Coptic-Pope-dies-at-88.411666


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Copts prepare to bury Pope Shenouda

Body to remain on display until burial on Tuesday
By AFP

Published Sunday, March 18, 2012

The body of Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, is displayed for public viewing inside the Abassiya Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday March 18. (Reuters)

Egypt's Coptic Church began preparations on Sunday for the funeral of Pope Shenuda III and set in motion the process to elect a new patriarch for the Middle East's largest Christian community. Shenuda died on Saturday aged 88, following a long illness.

He led the Copts, estimated at 10 per cent of Egypt's population of more than 80 million, for the best part of a generation.

Shenuda's body, dressed in formal robes and a golden crown, was placed on the papal throne in Cairo's St. Mark's Cathedral where it will remain on display until his funeral on Tuesday.

In highly emotional scenes, thousands of worshippers hoping to get a final blessing from their spiritual leader, streamed into the cathedral, taking pictures of him on their mobile phones, amid tears and wailing.

Based on wishes stated in his will, Shenuda will be buried at St. Bishoy monastery of Wadi Natrun in the Nile Delta, where he spent his time in exile after a dispute with late president Anwar Sadat, state media reported.

Bishop Pachomious of the Nile Delta province of Beheira has taken over papal duties for two months until a council of senior clergy meets to choose a new pope, state television said.

The pope would be chosen according procedures laid out in 1957 church bylaws.

"Egypt Weeps," read the headline of the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar as others bid "Farewell, Pope Shenuda".

Coptic bishops from around the world have already started to fly in to attend meetings over funeral arrangements and plan for Shenuda's succession.

The spiritual leader of the Middle East's largest Christian minority had suffered health problems for years, travelling to the United States frequently for treatment.

Recently he stopped receiving treatment for liver failure and tumours or swelling in his lungs because he was too feeble, the Coptic Church said.

Condolences came in from around the world, with US President Barack Obama hailing Shenuda as an advocate for tolerance and religious dialogue.

Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, had offered prayers for Shenuda, the Vatican said.

Muslim leaders in the country were quick to send their condolences soon after news of his death broke.

Shenuda's death is "a grave calamity that has afflicted all Egypt and its noble people, Muslims and Christians," the country's mufti, Ali Gomaa, said in a statement.

Shenuda was placed under house arrest by former president Anwar Sadat for his outspoken criticism of Sadat.But he was supportive of Sadat's successor, Mubarak.


http://www.emirates247.com/news/region/copts-prepare-to-bury-pope-shenuda-2012-03-18-1.449041


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