The Cathedral of the Holy Virgin in the Cairo eastern district of Zeitoun was built in the 1970s opposite a small 1924 Church, also consecrated to the Holy Virgin, the domes of which witnessed a mass Marian apparition throughout 1968 to 1970. The site is one of the spots where tradition has it that the Holy Family—The Christ Child, St Mary, and St Joseph—rested while on their flight into Egypt.
The cathedral at Zeitoun was the scene of the consecration of new bishops at the hands of Pope Tawadros II last Saturday 11 June and Sunday 12 June. The Pope consecrated three new bishops for the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Diaspora, and seated two current bishops for newly-founded parishes in Egypt.
Fr Moussa, who was a monk at Anba Moussa Monastery in Texas, was consecrated as Anba Peter, Bishop of North and South Carolina and Kentucky and its vicinity. Two other monks from the monastery of St Anthony, California were consecrated as bishops-general in Los Angeles to act as assistants to Metropolitan Anba Serapion of LA. Anba Serapion had requested new bishops to help in the extensive service needed by the thousands strong congregation of some 40 churches there, served by 62 priests. Fr Ishaq Boulos was thus consecrated as Bishop-General Anba Abraham, and Fr John Paul as Bishop-General Anba Kyrillos.
Two current bishops have been seated to new parishes: Bishop-General Anba Pavlos was seated as Bishop of Greece; and Anba Boqtor Bishop-General of al-Wadi al-Gadid (The New Valley in Egypt’s Western Desert) as Bishop of al-Wadi al-Gadeed. The seating took place on Saturday evening during Vepsers incense ceremony, whereas the new consecrations were conducted during Holy Mass Sunday morning. A large congregation attended as 100 members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church participated with Pope Tawadros in the seating and consecration ceremonies.
In his sermon on Sunday at the cathedral of the Holy Virgin at Zeitoun, Pope Tawadros pointed out that the new bishops have been consecrated and seated in front of the altar because it was Christ Himself who assigned them this service. A bishop, he said, does not serve to achieve personal glory; if he does he would lose his heavenly crown. “In the Diaspora,” the Pope said, “the Church serves a growing congregation spread out over extensive areas, hence the need for labourers for the plentiful harvest [Matt 9: 37].” He said a bishop was primarily a servant who should be a father to the congregation not a figure of authority, a man of integrity not a mere administrator, and a builder of character not of buildings.
The average age of the new bishops is anywhere around 40 and 50. They all have university degrees and have behind them a history of dedicated service in the Coptic Orthodox Church.
13 June 2016