NEWS FROM THE MOTHER CHURCH
Pope Shenouda’s return from America
In October 2008 His Holiness Pope Shenouda III returned to Cairo after having spent four months in the USA for treatment following his fractured femur. As expected, he returned to a rapturous reception by more than 10,000 people attended who awaited him at the Patriarchate at Anba Rueiss. The national anthem was played and Coptic hymns were chanted.
Addressing the crowds, the Pope said, “My dear sons, I am pleased to see you and I thank you for your love. But you were not away from me, as every time I travel I take you with me in my heart and my mind. I take the whole of Egypt with me. These are not my headquarters, as my real place is in your loving hearts.” His Holiness thanked President Mubarak for asking about him throughout his treatment, and for sending Major General Abdel Salam Mahgoub, Minister of Local Development, whilst Mahgoub quoted one of the Pope’s sayings that we do not live in Egypt, but rather Egypt lives in us. “We missed a key symbol of the country who knows the meaning of love and peace, and who shows us everyday how to love and be loyal to the homeland.”
During his time at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, church affairs were handled personally by the Pope from his hospital bed and he received numerous personal visits and telephone calls from church and state officials. President Mubarak not only telephoned the Pope himself but also sent Nabil Fahmi, Egypt’s ambassador to the USA; Egypt’s permanent delegate to the UN (Maged Abdel-Fattah) and Egypt’s consul in New York (Sherif el-Kholi) to inquire after his health. The Pope also gave several interviews to the Coptic TV channels, which provided extensive coverage of his stay in America.
During the annual meeting of the Holy Synod at the Pentecost Feast on 8 June 2009, H.H. Pope Shenouda, assisted by the assembled metropolitans and bishops ordained seven new bishops: Bishop Michael for Virginia, USA; Bishop Daniel for the Monastery of St. Shenouda, Australia; Bishop Theodosios as a General Bishop to serve in the diocese of Giza; Bishop Salib, as a General Bishop to serve in the diocese of Meet Gamr; Bishop Mercurios for the diocese of Gerga; Bishop Boutros for the diocese of Shabeen El Anatar and Bishop Mina, as a General Bishop. During the same service Bishop Timotheous was enthroned for the diocese of El Zaa Zeh and Bishop Aboukir fore the diocese of Sweden.
Copts and the Egyptian Census
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III told the satellite TV channel OTV that Christians in Egypt number twelve million. The Church had calculated these figures from its own internal census of every Christian family. “We can find out Christians’ number by ourselves and do not care about official figures” he stated.