November 5, 2012
Egypt's Copts Select Bishop Tawadros as Next Orthodox Pope
Unlike predecessor, Tawadros promises to prioritize “living with our brothers, the Muslims.”
Egypt's Christian community has been celebrating their newest leader since Sunday, when a blindfolded child selected Bishop Tawadros as pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Chosen by holy lot, Tawadros will serve as spiritual leader for Egypt's Coptic Orthodox, who comprise between 6 and 10 percent of the country's population of 83 million. Tawadros, a 60-year-old bishop of the Nile Delta province of Beheira, succeeds the much-beloved Pope Shenouda III, who died in March.
The task for Tawadros is monumental: Since the Egyptian uprising and overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak, the Coptic church no longer enjoys protection under the new Islamist government, causing the papacy's political influence to diminish.
But Tawadros has promised in recent interviews to eschew the political role of his predecessor Shenouda, emphasizing religious integration instead.
According to The New York Times, Tawadros's priorities include “living with our brothers, the Muslims” and “the responsibility of preserving our shared life.”
“The most important thing is for the church to go back and live consistently within the spiritual boundaries because this is its main work, spiritual work,” the bishop said.
CT previously noted the selection of the new pope, including a profile of the three candidates and an explanation of the unique selection process. CT also previously reported on Egyptian Christians' views of the new president, and noted that some Coptic converts see the new Islamist government as a "blessing in disguise."