Last Tuesday saw the enthronement of a new patriarch for the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak. The enthronement ceremony took place during Holy Mass which began at 11:00am at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin in the east Cairo suburb of Nasr City.
Last January, Pope Benedict XVI had sent a personal letter to the newly elected Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, “joyfully” granting him full ecclesiastical communion. This letter formally confirmed the election of the 62 year-old former bishop of Minya by the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Coptic Church, which took place on 15 January, as successor to Patriarch Antonios Naguib. The 77-year-old Antonios Naguib had become Patriarch in the spring of 2006 and in November 2010, Benedict XVI created him cardinal. He was also General Relator at the Synod of Bishops for the Churches of the Middle East. In December 2011, Patriarch Naguib suffered an intracranial hemorrhage.
His successor Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak was born on 19 August 1955 in Beni-Shuqeir, in Assiut, Upper Egypt. He studied Philosophy and Theology at the St Leo Patriarchal Seminary in Maadi, Cairo, and was ordained a priest in 1980. For the following two years he served in Cairo, then was sent to Rome to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University where he received his doctorate in dogmatic theology. Between 1990 and 2001 he was the rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Maadi. In October 2002 he was elected Bishop of Minya.
Attending the ceremony were several public figures, including the politician and former Arab League Chief Amr Moussa, the co-head of the National Salvation front Hamdeen Sabahi, and the politician and former Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour.
On the ecclesiastical level were present representatives of the Churches inside and outside Egypt, among them the Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and the East Pope Gregorius III.
The Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II attended the enthronement ceremony, and gave a word in which he talked about the papacy as a mission of fatherhood, love and service. He presented the new Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac with a gift of a cross and a pendant that carries an icon of the Holy Virgin.
17 March 2013