Egypt's Coptic Christian Pope Dead at 88
Pope Shenouda III struck conservative tone during revolution
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2012 5:22 PM CDT
Egyptian women mourn for Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Saturday, March 17, 2012, at the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

(Newser) – Egypt's Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III has died of natural causes at age 88 after leading his community through four decades of quiet expansion, al-Jazeera reports. A religious leader of some 8 million people—about 10% of Egyptians—Shenouda was a fighter for Coptic rights in his early years but mellowed later on, striking a conciliatory tone even when sectarian violence increased. Finally, after a Coptic protest was brutally dispersed last October, Shenouda spoke out against the violence.

"These martyrs are our beloved children and their blood does not come cheap," he said. Shenouda was feistier in the 1980s, standing up for Coptic rights and receiving more than three years in exile for his efforts. When he returned under the rule of Hosni Mubarak, Shenouda emphasized dialogue and unity between churches around the world. Whoever replaces him faces a daunting task, reports the BBC—of reassuring Coptics as Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood appear on the verge of sharing power.

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Egypt's Coptic Christian Pope Dead at 89 is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 9 comments
Mar 18, 2012 9:56 PM CDT
Who gets to wear the funny hat now? I hope it's me.
Mar 18, 2012 9:37 AM CDT
Gandalf is DEAD!!! Oh, noes!
Mar 18, 2012 8:35 AM CDT
Too bad the Roman Catholic Pope couldn't follow his example.