Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • French journalist tells of release from captivity in Syria

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • ‘Deadly clashes’ at Eastern Ukraine checkpoint

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

Africa

Egypt's Copts pay last respects to Pope Shenuda III

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-18

Egyptian Copts were on Sunday paying their last respects to their spiritual leader Pope Shenuda III, who died at the weekend aged 88. The pope's body will remain on display in Cairo's St Mark's Cathedral until his burial on Tuesday.

AFP - Thousands of grieving Egyptian Copts streamed into St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday to catch a last glimpse of their spiritual leader Pope Shenuda III, taking pictures on their mobile phones and weeping.

Shenuda died on Saturday aged 88, following a long illness, setting in motion the process to elect a new patriarch for the Middle East's largest Christian community.

He led the Copts, estimated at 10 percent of Egypt's population of more than 80 million, for the best part of a generation, during which the country was hit by a wave of Islamic militancy from which he sought to protect his people.

Shenuda's body, dressed in a golden crown and formal robes, with a gold knobbed staff cradled on his shoulder, was placed upright on the papal throne in the cathedral where it will remain on display until his funeral on Tuesday.

A bishop knelt to the side pressing his head to the throne, as thousands of tearful worshippers in black packed the church, hoping to get a final blessing.

Based on wishes stated in his will, Shenuda will be buried at St. Bishoy monastery of Wadi Natrun in the Nile Delta, where he spent his time in exile after a dispute with late president Anwar Sadat, state media reported.

Bishop Pachomious of the Nile Delta province of Beheira has taken over papal duties for two months until a council of senior clergy meets to choose a new pope, state television said.

The pope would be chosen according to procedures laid out in 1957 church bylaws.

"Egypt Weeps," read the headline of the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar as others bid "Farewell, Pope Shenuda".

"Egypt has lost one of its greatest men," said Cairo's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious institution, in a statement. "He is a great loss, a dear friend."

Coptic bishops from around the world have already started to fly in to attend meetings over funeral arrangements and plan for their leader's succession.

Shenuda had suffered health problems for years, travelling to the United States frequently for treatment.

Recently he stopped receiving treatment for liver failure and tumours or swelling in his lungs because he was too feeble, the Coptic Church said.

Condolences came in from around the world, with US President Barack Obama hailing Shenuda as an advocate for tolerance and religious dialogue.

Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, had offered prayers for Shenuda, the Vatican said.

Muslim leaders in the country were quick to send their condolences soon after news of his death broke.

Shenuda's death is "a grave calamity that has afflicted all Egypt and its noble people, Muslims and Christians," the country's mufti, Ali Gomaa, said in a statement.

Shenuda leaves behind a nervous community, a target of frequent sectarian attacks in recent years, whose members complain of routine harassment and systematic discrimination and marginalisation.

Egypt's Christians are particularly concerned over the rise and increased assertiveness of Islamists, following an uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

Shenuda was placed under house arrest by former president Anwar Sadat for his outspoken criticism of Sadat's courting of Islamists.

But he was supportive of Sadat's successor, Mubarak, who was overthrown by a popular uprising more than a year ago which led to an Islamist-dominated parliament -- the first in the country's history.

Shenuda, immediately recognisable by his long white beard, was believed to have viewed the widely despised Mubarak as a bulwark against Islamists, who believe non-Muslims should not be allowed to rule the country.

He was seen as a check on more radical Copts who urged more forceful reactions to sectarian attacks that have plagued their community, especially after Mubarak's ouster.

Date created : 2012-03-18

  • EGYPT

    Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenuda III dies

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt charges police chief over deadly stadium riot

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    US, foreign NGO workers flown out of Egypt

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)