Thursday 8 March, Pope Tawadros II presided over the funeral service of Anba Boqtor, the late Bishop of al-Wadi al-Gadeed, who passed away in Dallas in the US on Friday 16 February 2018.
Anba Boqtor’s body had been flown to Egypt and arrived at Cairo Airport the evening before. The funeral was held at al-Boutrossiya Church in Abbassiya, Cairo.
Attending the service were a large number of bishops, priests, monks and nuns, and members of the congregation. Anba Boqtor’s sister was there, and received condolences for her brother’s departure.
Pope Tawadros spoke about Anba Boqtor who, the Pope said, had studied mining engineering as a young men, but forsook a promising career to take orders and dedicate his life to God. “He was an active, dynamic monk,” the Pope said, “who I thought would make a good bishop over a parish as widespread and needful of service as that of al-Wadi al-Gadeed. [Al-Wadi al-Gadeed stretches over Egypt’s Western Desert and oases.] His name as a monk was Bishoi, but we needed a new name for him as a bishop, so I asked him to think of one while I too thought of that. Surprisingly, we both came up with the name of Boqtor; he said he chose that name because it was the name of the last bishop of that area some eight centuries ago.
“His service as bishop, which lasted a mere three years, was short but rich in forbearance and contribution. He travelled far and wide to serve, spiritually and materially, a flock scattered over the vast desert region of al-Wadi al-Gadeed. He built and consecrated churches there, and ordained priests to care for the flock. He also encouraged study of history and archaeology in his widespread parish—a region rich in old Christian relics.
“Anba Boqtor succeeded in forming a new thriving diocese in al-Wadi al-Gadeed which had not had a resident bishop for eight centuries.
“We sadly bid Anba Boqtor farewell,” the Pope said. “As a monk, priest, and bishop, he faithfully served the Lord and Church for 40 years; during many of which he bravely carried his cross of illness and pain. We are sure that he has heard the voice of the Lord welcome him to everlasting life.”
Anba Boqtor took orders in 1980 at al-Muharraq Monastery in Assiut some 350km south of Cairo. He was given the name Bishoi al-Muharraqi. On 23 May 2015, he was consecrated General-Bishop at the hands of Pope Tawadros II and, on 12 June 2016, was seated Bishop of al-Wadi al-Gadeed and the Oases.
His body was moved to his parish church for burial.
8 March 2018