Skip to main content

Egypt's Coptic Christians pick new pope

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:38 AM EST, Sun November 4, 2012
Bishop Tawadros, 60, was named the new Coptic Christian pope in a ceremony in Cairo on November 4, 2012.
Bishop Tawadros, 60, was named the new Coptic Christian pope in a ceremony in Cairo on November 4, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A blindfolded boy chooses the name of the next pope
  • The new pope replaces a former leader who died in March
  • Attacks in recent years have targeted the Coptic Christian minority

Cairo (CNN) -- Egypt's Coptic Christians picked a new leader Sunday, a process that involved a blindfolded boy choosing one of three names in a crystal chalice.

Bishop Tawadros Theodorus II -- the nation's 118th Coptic Pope -- replaces the former leader who died in March.

The death of Pope Shenouda III sparked anxiety in the embattled minority group in Egypt's Muslim majority.

Thousands of people flooded into a Cairo Cathedral in March to bid farewell to the 88-year-old pope who led the nation's Coptic Christians for about four decades.

Egypt's Coptic Pope laid to rest
Egypt's Coptic pope dies

Egypt's Christian minority has been the target of attacks in recent years. The bombing of a major church in Alexandria in January 2011 killed 21 people and sparked worldwide condemnation.

Christians are a small minority in Egypt, although the Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian church in the Middle East, according the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage, England.

Estimates vary on the percentage of Coptic Christians in Egypt. U.S. officials estimate a 9% Coptic Christian population, but the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which released a report on the global Christian population last year, says it is closer to 5%.

The leader of the Coptic Christian community since 1971, Shenouda died of renal failure caused by diabetes. He also had lung cancer, which spread to the rest of his body.

In addition to millions of followers in Egypt, the Coptic church has adherents in Europe, Canada, the United States, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT