After a life of sincere love, care and sanctity, the angel of Assiut, Anba Mikhail, has departed from our world. The eldest of all the Coptic Orthodox metropolitans and bishops, Anba Mikhail’s departure has wrenched the hearts of all who knew and loved him. During his final days his devotees divided into two camps, both venerated him and were extremely attached to him. One group could not even bare to think that Anba Mikhail would be leaving this world, his Church and congregation. The other group prayed for the Lord to sustain him on his deathbed. All now deeply mourn his loss and miss his blessings and his dedicated devotion to the Church of Assiut and its congregation throughout the 68 years from 1946 to 2014.
Assiut Church and congregation are not alone in mourning Anba Mikhail, millions upon millions of souls—myself included—who were moved by this blessed saint are devastated over the loss. As the person in charge of Watani, I enjoyed a very close personal bond with him, one that overflowed with love and respect. It is a relationship the details of which I keep in my heart, since Anba Mikhail did not wish for any of it to be made public. I honoured my promise all through the past 15 years, yet I now feel that the time has come for me to pay this blessed father his due. I thus intend to share the story of Anba Mikhail and Watani soon enough with my readers.