Back home in Cairo following his month-long US pastoral visit that ended 13 October, Pope Tawadros II yesterday visited to the shrine of Anba Bishoy (1942 – 2018), Metropolitan of Dumyat (Damietta) and Kafr al-Sheikh, who passed away on the 2 October 2018 of cardiac arrest. The Pope, who was away from 13 September to 13 October, had to miss Anba Bishoi’s funeral service. He sent a videoconference message mourning Anba Bishoy, praying for his soul to rest in peace and for divine comfort for the Church and congregation.
He said: “It is with deep sorrow that we bid farewell to Anba Bishoy, Metropolitan of Dumyat and Kafr al-Sheikh, Head of St Dimiana Convent in al-Barari (the Prairies), Head of the Theology Department at the Coptic Studies Institute, and representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in international, regional, and local Church councils, also in theological dialogue with various Churches.
“We mourn the sudden departure of Anba Bishoy who faithfully served the Church for some 45 years … He was a scrupulous theological scholar who, through his extensive knowledge, took part in drafting Church documents and statements on theological matters. He taught Theology in seminaries in Egypt and throughout the world.”
Anba Bishoy’s shrine is at the convent of St Dimiana in Mansoura, Daqahliya, on the eastern branch of Nile Delta, where he was buried according to his will. His body will remain there for one year after which it will be moved for burial in the tomb of the bishops and metropolitans of Dumyat diocese.
Pope Tawadros placed roses on Anba Bishoy’s shrine, asking for his prayers and intercession for him and for the Coptic Church.
Anba Bishoy was born in 1942 in the town of Mansoura, Daqahliya, on the eastern branch of the Nile Delta. He was born Makram Iskandar Nicola, the son of a wealthy landowner family. He lost his father when just four, and grew up an only child to his widowed mother. After completing school in 1958, he studied Mechanical Engineering at Alexandria University. Graduating with honours, he was appointed graduate assistant and went on to obtain a Masters degree in engineering sciences in 1968. Two days later he gave up a promising career and the extensive property owned by his family, to which he was the only heir, and which he relinquished to the Church, to join the Monastery of the Holy Virgin of al-Surian in Wadi al-Natroun in Egypt’s Western Desert.
Anba Bishoy was seated Bishop of Dumyat in January 1985, in a grand ceremony in which a number of senior bishops took part. That same year, he was elected Secretary-General of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod and, in September 1990, he was promoted to Metropolitan.
His studies in Theology qualified him to teach that topic at Cairo’s Clerical College (Seminary) as well as many other seminaries, and his ardent fervour in patiently clearing differences between Churches earned him the approbation of Pope John Paul II.
Anba Bishoy wrote a number of modern choruses and hymns. His last was a short poem in which he addressed the Lord: “When do I see you, my Beloved, receiving me with open arms … When do I find You, my Loved One, wiping away all my sadness … Nothing can separate me from You, no matter how prolonged the time … You are closer to me than myself, my words, my thoughts”.
17 October 2018