Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Coptic church has a new pope

Bishop Tawadros has become Egypt’s 118th Coptic Pope. The new Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who passed away last March. 
Bishop Tawadros is auxiliary bishop for the governorate of Beheira and auxiliary to ِArchbishop Pachomios, who is serving as acting Pope till Tawadros will be installed on 18 November. The new pope was born in 1952 and studied pharmaceutical sciences at Alexandria University.
Bishop Tawadros Following a mass at eight o'clock on Sunday in St Mark's Cathedral in Abbasiya, Cairo,  acting pope Bishop Pachomios led a blindfolded altar boy to the altar in order to take the name of the new pope from a  box containing three names. The other finalists were Bishop Rafael, bishop of Central Cairo and Heliopolis, and the monk Father Rafael Ava Mina.
The road to choosing a new pope began immediately after Pope Shenouda’s death, when 76-year-old Pachomios' was appointed as interim pope. The Church formed a committee to draw up a shortlist of five nominees to become Shenouda's successor, and another committee to form a body of  people who had the right to vote from among (arch)bishops, lay council members as well as prominent Copts like newspaper editors-in-chief and members of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate. On  29 October these electors, 2406 in total, chose the three finalists from among the five nominees. Bishop Rafael garnered 1980 votes (32.36 %), while bishop Tawadros got 1623 votes (26.53 per cent) and Father Raphael 1530 votes (25%).
The new pope will have to task to reposition the Coptic church in the changed political climate of Egypt after Mubarak with a Muslim Brother at its helm. At the other hand he has to modernise the church and third he has to cope with demands for changes to the civic laws inside the church, like for instance the law that forbids divorce and remarriage. 

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