Coptic Pope Shenouda III falls asleep in the Lord

Pope Shenouda III

Funeral services for His Holiness, Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who fell asleep in the Lord after a lengthy illness on Saturday, March 17, 2012, are expected to be celebrated on Tuesday, March 20 in Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral.

The 117th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church and head of its Holy Synod, Pope Shenouda was born August 3, 1923.  He presided over the Coptic Church since his election on November 14, 1971.

A graduate of Cairo University and the Coptic Orthodox Seminary, he became a monk after entering the Monastery of the Ever-Virgin Mary the Theotokos, where he was ordained to the priesthood.  He was later consecrated General Bishop for Christian Education and Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary, whereupon he was given the name Shenouda.

Pope Shenouda presided over a worldwide expansion of the Coptic Orthodox Church in recent time, due primarily to emmigration.  He appointed the first Coptic bishops to serve his Church’s North American dioceses, which number an estimated 200 parishes in the US, 23 in Canada, and one in Mexico, and the first bishops in Australia and South America.

At home, he faced turbulent times, and at one point had been placed under house arrest in a monastery.

Shenouda was well known as a man of prayer and asceticism, as reflected in his many writings.

Additional information will be posted as it is received.

May Pope Shenouda’s memory be eternal.