Saturday, March 17, 2012

Coptic Pope Shenouda III, Dead at 88

Pope Shenouda III has died at the age of 88. Shenouda was the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and had served as pope since 1971. It is yet unknown who his successor will be. After over forty years of his reign, many have known none but him as pope.

Known for preserving his church's place in Egypt and the Middle East, he also did much to spread it further into North and South America. He strongly believed in dialogue between the various Christian churches, and sought unity amongst them.

From 1981-1985 he spent his time in exile, as then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had him kicked out of the country. In 1985 former president Hosni Mubarak allowed him to reenter, and he led the Christmas mass.

Recently he had been criticized for not standing up against the political leaders, as they allowed Muslims to violate Coptic rights. Throughout the revolution, last year, he asked the people to go home and be safe. And since the revolution had backed the military council, until soldiers fired upon a Coptic crowd, of who's dead he called martyrs.