A bishop of advanced age, Tawadros, 61, hailing from the city of El Beheira in the Nile Delta, has been selected to lead his church until the end of his days. This event took place in the past, marking a milestone in the church’s history.
Tawadros II, Named the New Egyptian Coptic Pope, is a Sixty-One-Year-Old Bishop
Tawadros’s selection was made through a procedure known as the “altar lottery.”
This method involved the random selection of a sealed envelope by a blindfolded child from among three envelopes containing the names of the finalists. These candidates had been previously chosen from several aspirants during that week.
The election ceremony, which saw wide attendance, was held at the St. Mark’s Cathedral, located in the Abbasiya district of the capital.
Tawadros’s nomination as Supreme Pontiff received support from the Coptic Lay Council, which particularly valued his wisdom, determination, and ability to maintain harmonious relations with everyone in his diocese, including both Christians and Muslims.
Bishop Raphael, another prominent candidate, expressed his support for the newly appointed Supreme Pontiff, highlighting the broad respect Tawadros commands within the Coptic community. This endorsement came in a context where his predecessor had been criticized for his closeness with the regime of the ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who was removed from power through popular protests in 2011.
Last Monday, a total of two thousand four hundred seventeen clerics, monks, and laypeople conducted the election of the finalists to fill the vacancy left by Pope Shenouda, who passed away in March after forty years of leadership.
This process culminated in the selection of names that would later be subjected to the lottery to define the new leader.
In this context, Tawadros assumes the guidance of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox, a task not easy given the recent death threats against members of this community in the Sinai Peninsula.
These threats came from members of extremist Islamic groups, increasing concern for the security and well-being of the Copts.
Response to Threats
Faced with such circumstances, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took matters into his own hands, personally traveling to the peninsula to meet with leaders of the Coptic community.
During this meeting, Morsi committed to ensuring the state’s protection of the Copts, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation by stating that any aggression against them would be considered a personal attack against him.
The Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in both the Middle East and North Africa, comprising approximately 15 million faithful. This number represents a significant portion of the country’s total population, which stands at 83 million inhabitants.
Therefore, Tawadros’s responsibility at the helm of the Egyptian Copts not only covers spiritual aspects but also plays a crucial role in preserving the peace and security of his community in times of instability.