The Coptic Orthodox Church lost Anba Karass (1958 – 2021) Bishop-General of al-Mehalla al-Kubra, who passed away at 63 on on 13 October 2021, on account of a COVID-19 infection.
Anba Karass was mourned by Pope Tawadros II and the Holy Synod in a statement which declared that the venerable Bishop had departed our mortal world for the joy of Eternity, leaving behind a precious legacy of dedicated service and faithful pastoral work. Anba Karass, the statement said, possessed purity of heart and a simplicity that dominated whatever he did or said, so that his words had great effect on the hearts and souls of all who heard them. “We are confident that he is blessed, according to the Lord’s promise ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labour, and their works follow them. (Rev 14:13).”
The Pope and Holy Synod offered condolences to the priest assembly of Mehalla, its congregation, and the family and friends of Anba Karass.
The funeral service for Anba Karass will be held at noon on Friday 15 October at St Mark’s Cathedral in Abbassiya, Cairo.
Given that Anba Karass had been deputy to Anba Pimen, Metropolitan of Naqada and Qous, from 1991 to 2013, another funeral service will be held for him on the evening of Friday 15 October at the monastery of Archangel Michael in Naqada, and Anba Pimen will accept condolences at the church of Mar-Girgis in Naqada on 16 October, and at the church of St Stephen in Qous on 17 October. The dates were announced in a statement by Anba Pimen, headed with the Bible verse: “Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father” (Matt 13:43).
Anba Karass was born in December 1958. He took orders in 1983 at the monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in the Western Desert, some 230km southwest Cairo, and later moved to Muharraq Monastery in Assiut some 350km south of Cairo. In 1991 he became deputy to Anba Pimen, Metropolitan of Naqada (some 600km south of Cairo) and Qous, and remained so till he was consecrated Bishop of Mehalla in Nile Delta 2013.
Anba Karass held a B.Sc degree in Theology and a M.Sc in Church History from the Institute of Coptic Studies, Cairo. He was Assistant Coordinator of the Holy Synod’s Public Relations Committee, and Coordinator of its branch Crisis Management Committee.
Ever since news were out that Anba Karass passed away, social media has been brimming with messages by clerics and congregation mourning him and expressing grief at the loss of this great man. His astounding humility, gentleness, knowledge, and firmness, were highly extolled; as well as his captivating love for all.
Reporting by Mariam Farouq, Rose Hosny, Nevine Gadallah, Basma Nasser
14 October 2021