Egypt's ancient Coptic Christian church chose a new pope in an elaborate ceremony today meant to invoke the will of God, in which a blindfolded boy drew the name of the next patriarch from a crystal chalice. Bishop Tawadros, 59, an aide to the acting pope, was selected to become Pope Tawadros II, replacing the charismatic Pope Shenouda III, who died earlier this year after 40 years at the helm of the church. "We will pray that God will choose the good shepherd," said the interim pope during the ceremony.
All three senior clerics whose names were in the chalice were considered consensus candidates who stayed out of disputes both within the church and with other groups. Tawadros will assume the papacy as Egypt's Christians, estimated to make up 10% of the country's 83 million people, fear for their future amid the rise of Islamists in the wake Hosni Mubarak's ouster. None of the candidates attended the ceremony; church leaders will head to Tawadros' retreat northeast of Cairo to congratulate him.