Following the news of the death of H.H. Pope Shenouda, Abba Seraphim will fly to Cairo overnight , and will arrive first thing on Sunday, 25 March. All British Orthodox Churches will now observe full mourning with prayers being offered for the repose of Pope Shenouda.
A statement has just been received from His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, announcing the death of His Holiness Pope Shenouda on 17 March 2012
Further announcements will follow shortly.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III died at 5.15 p.m. He suffered a heart attack, but was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
Copts all over the world are joining the mourning. Abba Seraphim, along with other Coptic clergy are on their way to Cairo to attend an urgent synod.
On Saturday evening, thousands of Copts gathered in the courtyard of Abbasiya Cathedral aiming to pay their last respects to the deceased patriarch. “We are not sure when this will be possible,” said one source. “Perhaps tomorrow.”
Another source indicated that no one would be admitted into the presence of the dead pope until the day of the funeral, “which will be held on Tuesday, three days from now, to make time for followers of the pope to come form across Egypt and from abroad.”
By Saturday evening, most presidential hopefuls, who had by and large made an effort to frequent Coptic mass since the end of the Mubarak regime, were offering their condolences.
“With one or two exceptions we expect all presidential hopefuls to be present in the funeral mass,” added the source, indicating that all state bodies, political parties and groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, had already contacted the church. “Many have been asking how they might pay their respects and participate in the funeral mass.”
Meanwhile, official and church sources said a high level state representation is scheduled for the funeral mass. The head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, is expected to be at the cathedral to offer his condolences, while SCAF’s second in command, Sami Annan, is expected to be present throughout the mass.
Tantawi decreed three days of official mourning for Copts.
Annan and several SCAF members were invited to attend Christmas Mass on 6 January despite the outrage of the Coptic public at the military’s conspicuous involvement in the tragedy that befell Coptic demonstrators on 9 October while they protested a series of attacks on Coptic churches across Egypt.
Diplomats and some foreign dignitaries are expected at the funeral which will probably take place at the Abbassiya Cathedral before the coffin is taken to the monastery in Wadi Al-Natroun for burial.
“We offer our deep condolences to every one of our Christian brothers for the loss of Pople Shenouda,” Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie said in a statement. “May God help all our Christian brothers overcome this ordeal and bring a successor who can keep promoting the sense of unity between all citizens,” he added.
An Egyptian army statement said that the Pope was a “rare statesman who worked with all of his energy to promote the wellbeing of the nation.”
Bishop Bakhomious (Pachomious) of Behera will head the Coptic Orthodox church for an interim period of two months. The General Congregation Council, which is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, will nominate three bishops, one of which is to succeed Pope Shenouda III.
The names of the three bishops will be written on three papers, and a child will pick one, unseen, from a box. This method is used in order for the “will of God” to play a role in the process.
Pope Shenouda is trending on Twitter worldwide as people report the news.
BBC News report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17416429
BBC News Obituary: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17416731
Photographs taken from Cairo: http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2012/03/snaps-from-cairo-after-the-demise-of-pope-shenouda-iii/
Pope Shenouda’s body is presented on his Papal throne: http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/718671
Who will be the successor to Pope Shenouda? http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/718491
At the invitation of The Waterloo Place Group, a private luncheon club composed of School Chaplains, Abba Seraphim spoke on 10 November at The Athenaeum Club in London. His subject was the background to the current situation of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt. Briefly tracing the political history of Egypt since the 1952 Revolution, Abba Seraphim spoke about the outrages of El Kosheh (New Year’s Eve, 1999) and Nag Hammadi (Christmas Eve 2010) leading to the acceleration of events over the past twelve months. Throughout all the terrible events of this period and the uncertainty of the future, the message of His Holiness Pope Shenouda has been clear, “We do not know anything concerning the future. The Lord said: Do not care for tomorrow, tomorrow cares for itself. The future is in the hands of God not ours.”
Your Holiness, dear Father in God,
For the second time this year it is my melancholy duty to send to you the profound condolences of your British Orthodox clergy and faithful at the deaths of so many faithful Christians who were peacefully protesting against recent attacks on Coptic churches. We join wholeheartedly in the three days of prayer and fasting and share the grief and shock which the loss of so many innocent lives deserves.
We also extend our deep sympathy to the families and friends of all the departed as well as well as those who were injured in the vicious and unwarranted attacks which took place.
We earnestly pray for peace and justice in Egypt so that all sections of society may be united in rebuilding a free and fair society so that the people of Egypt may be united together in common cause for the benefit of all.
We thank God for preserving Your Holiness in health and safety to lead the church and ask Him to uphold you in your sacred ministry.
Commending myself to Your Holiness’s prayers.
Your loving and faithful son-in-Christ,
- 26 May 2013
- Morning Incense & Divine LiturgyWorship commences 09.30
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
- Morning Prayer: Babingley10.00am Morning Prayer
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: CharltonRaising of Incense 2.00 p.m.
Divine Liturgy 2.30 p.m.
- 2 June 2013
- Morning Prayer: BournemouthMorning Prayer: 9.30am