News / Africa

    Tawadros Chosen as New Pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians

    Egypt's Coptic Christians have a new leader.  Bishop Tawadros has been chosen to succeed the late Pope Shenouda and to shepherd one of the world's oldest Christian communities during precarious times.  

    At Cairo's Abbasiya Cathedral, the final choice came down to a young boy, led to the altar where three names had been placed in a jar.  Blindfolded, to let what the faithful believe is the hand of God guide him, the boy reached for the paper that would reveal the next pope.

    With that gesture, Bishop Tawadros of Beheira became the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa in the Holy See of St. Mark the Apostle.

    • The three final candidates for pope are projected on a TV screen at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, November 4, 2012. (Yuli Weeks/VOA)
    • Acting Coptic Pope Bakhomious, center, displays the name of 60-year-old Bishop Tawadros, soon to be Pope Tawadros II, during the papal election ceremony at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, November 4, 2012.
    • Interim Pope Bakhomious leading Sunday's ceremonies at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, November 4, 2012. (Yuli Weeks/VOA)
    • Egyptian caretaker of the Coptic Church, interim Pope Bakhomious celebrates the ceremony announcing the name of the 118th pope of Egypt's Coptic, Cairo, November 4, 2012.
    • Egyptian Copts attend the ceremony during which the 118th leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church was chosen in Cairo, November 4, 2012.
    • Coptic bishops at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, November 4, 2012. (Yuli Weeks/VOA)
    Interim pope Bakhomious, to whom Tawadros has been an aide, led the ceremony that brought an end to months of uncertainty in Egypt's time of transition.

    Bakhomious said the world lacks peace because it has ignored spiritual work. The basic, only source of peace, he said, is Jesus Christ.

    Tawadros faces daunting challenges as he succeeds Pope Shenouda. The late pope led for more than 40 years, in an uneasy accommodation with the old government.  Many Copts worry Egypt's new Islamist leadership will mean a diminished role in their ancestral home.

    Coptic lawyer Mansour Hosny Fahmy Kezman took part in the pre-selection electoral process.

    He says Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population, have no good representation in political or democratic work - not even in job opportunities.

    President Mohamed Morsi, who came from the Muslim Brotherhood, has promised to be a leader of all Egyptians. But his government has failed to stop attacks on Christians by Islamic extremists.

    Church member Nagy Lotfy Tamer is from a region in Upper Egypt with a strong presence of Muslim fundamentalists. He says churches are demolished, and thugs and “terrorists” storm into Christians' homes.

    Some are trying to be more optimistic.  “We put many things for Christianity in Egypt [they] did not [have] or was not before. I mean, I think it will be better than before,” said church spokesman Anba Pola, who is part of the group drafting a new constitution for the country.

    But the Coptic Church also faces challenges from within. Younger members, empowered by the revolution that swept away Egypt's old political order last year, are beginning to raise demands of their religious leaders as well.

    Anba Pola says the church is listening.

    "We are thinking about our future," said Pola. "The church without young [people] is a church without future."

    The church spokesman says the new pope, guided by the Holy Spirit, will rise to any challenge. Tawadros will be enthroned in a ceremony later this month, attended by President Morsi.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mhee from: Philippines
    November 09, 2012 8:54 PM
    If Pres. Morsi will truly fulfill his promise to be a leader of all Egyptians, a muslims or a christians I'm sure the world will salute you for that.

    by: Anonymous
    November 05, 2012 11:39 AM
    Tawadros should understand that his is not only to represent the Christians in Egypt, he should also find out why Egypt's population of Christians is a paltry 10%. He should press for not just more rights but equal rights for his coptics and other minority groups in the country. His is a position of total sacrifice: he should not be afraid to stick out his neck to speak for the down-trodden Christians and other minorities in the Morsi regime which is now in the political spotlight watched all over the world. He should take advantage of the democratic evolution to assert the rights and equality of all Egyptians under president Morsi's islamist fundamentalism. He must force Morsi out of the cocoon of islamegalomania if he(Morsi) truly will be president to all Egyptians.

    This is Tawadros' chance to break that circle of doom for all time. Egypt without freedom of worship/religion is not acceptable. The news that soon after the Egypt Spring some Christians were run over by an army tank protesting the burning of a Church because a muslim youth crossed over to Christianity is still fresh in the memory. Tawadros' tenure must ensure that such scenarios do not reoccur, after all it's no noise when a Christian turns muslim, why is the reverse the case when a muslim turns Christian? Anyone finding self under bondage should be free to change position, and Egypt must accept the rights and freedoms of the people to do so. Nothing less is acceptable, not anywhere in the world, not in Egypt.

    by: Anonymous
    November 04, 2012 12:43 PM
    Gods be with us

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora