Congratulations have been flowing in for the new pope, Anba Tawodros II, ever since he was chosen the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark this morning. Hordes of well-wishers from among the Coptic congregation have been steadily converging on Anba Bishoi monastery in the Western Desert, where Anba Tawodros had been in retreat while Holy Mass was being celebrated at St Mark’s cathedral in Abassiya, Cairo this morning, followed by the altar draw which determined him as the new pope.
Prominent among the new pope’s visitors have been the acting patriarch Anba Pachomeus, whose disciple Pope Tawodros II is, and who lovingly insisted that the new pope should sit on the papal seat, despite Pope Tawdros’s reluctance.
Anba Raphael, Bishop-General of Downtown Cairo, who was also a candidate for the papacy, came to Anba Bishoi’s from the nearby Baramous monastery where he had been in retreat, to congratulate Pope Tawodros and pledge to offer him all the support he may need in his new post.
A number of bishops of the 90-member Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church also visited Pope Tawodros to congratulate him.
Several Coptic youth movements sent Pope Tawodros messages of congratulations, in which they cited their demands of the new pope.
In their message cloaked in emotional rhetoric, the Maspero Youth Union (MYU) expressed heartfelt happiness at the choice of the new pope, and said they hoped he would accommodate the youth in the fullness of fatherly love. They demanded that he should start with amending the 1957 Bylaws that govern the selection of Coptic Orthodox patriarchs—a task all candidates for the papacy had already pledged to do. The MYU also asked the new pope to widen the active participation of the laity in all the affairs of the Church, and hoped he would appoint a layman among his secretariat.
The Copts for Egypt (CFE) movement affirmed that the period between the passing away of Pope Shenouda III, who had been patriarch for 42 years, last March and the election of a new pope today was a choppy one, especially given the political and social upheavals Egypt is undergoing. Yet, the CFE said, the transition was managed in full wisdom by acting patriarch Anba Pachomeus. Hany al-Gezeiri, coordinator-general of CFE, was joined by Fady Youssef of the Coalition of Copts for Egypt in affirming that many issues await the new pope’s management which, according to Mr Gezeiri and Mr Youssef, should be based on dialogue with the congregation and a broader participation of the laity.
The new pope should be enthroned on 18 November.
4 November 2012