Church bells in Minya tolled sadly on the Saturday 11 August 2018 to announce that the Coptic Orthodox Church had lost Anba Arsanius, Metropolitan of Minya and Abu-Qurqas, who passed away at age 90, after a long battle with liver cancer.
The funeral service for Anba Arsanius was held later in the afternoon of that day at the church of Tadros al-Shutby in Minya, some 250km south of Cairo. Pope Tawadros II presided over the service which saw the participation of a large number of metropolitans, bishops, priests, and monks. Present were Anba Antonius, Metropolitan of Jerusalem; Anba Pavnotius, Metropolitan of Samalout; Anba Macarius, General-Bishop of Minya; as well as representatives from the monasteries of St Samuel the Confessor and Abu-Fana in Minya; also al-Suryan and al-Baramous monasteries in Wadi al-Natroun. Anba Arsanius, who had been an engineer, took his vows at al-Suryan in 1958, and served at al-Baramous for one year from 1975 to 1976 when he was consecrated Bishop.
The funeral was also attended by Essam al-Bedeiwi, Governor of Minya; General Magdy Amer, Chief of Minya security apparatus, and local politicians.
Pope Tawadros gave a word which he began with the Gospel verse: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28) He said that Anba Arsanius had heard this call and accepted it, and now rests in peace in the heart of Christ.
“Today, we mourn a beloved Metropolitan who lived a long life of 90 years, 60 of which he served as a monk, bishop and metropolitan, a good shepherd.
“In the contemporary history of the Coptic Church,” Pope Tawadros said, “Anba Arsanius stood out as a living example of diligent service; love; prayer; and quietude. He was a model educator, developer, planner, and a man of prayer and praise. I visited him in hospital where he lay sick, only to find him praying and singing praises to the Lord.
“We offer our condolences to Anba Macarius who served with him for many years, and to all the clergy and congregation of Minya.
“We also thank the officials who, expressing sincere affection, have attended this funeral service.”
Pope Tawadros concluded by asking the Lord to respond to Anba Arsanius’s “intercession on our behalf.”
The congregation of Minya used social media to express their grief at the departure of the Metropolitan. “It has been a hard week for Minya Copts,” many said. “Only four days ago we mourned our beloved Tassoni (Coptic for ‘Sister’) Verena, our joyful angel of Minya who died when she was barely 40, and now we mourn the departure of Anba Arsanius.” Tassoni Verena was a Consecrated Virgin
whose service to Minya and the villages in its vicinity was characterised with overflowing love, care, and joy.
Anba Arsanius is the fifth bishop the Coptic Orthodox Church lost during 2018. The four others were:
Anba Boqtor, Bishop of al-Wadi al-Gadeed in the Western Desert, who breathed his last on 16 February. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/coptic-affairs/pope-tawadros-presided-over-funeral-service-for-anba-boqtor/23355/];
Anba Fam (1945 – 2018), Bishop of Tema, who passed away on 25 February. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/coptic-affairs/anba-fam-bishop-of-tema-passes-away-in-london-hospital/23198/];
Anba Antonius (1951 – 2018) Bishop of Manfalout, Assiut who passed away on 17 March. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/coptic-affairs/anba-antonius-bishop-of-manfalout-67-passes-away/23467/ ];
Anba Epiphanius, Abbot of the Monastery of St Macarius in Wadi al-Natroun, who was murdered on 29 July. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/coptic-affairs/anba-epiphanius-abbot-of-st-macariuss-passes-away/24964/ ]
12 August 2018