CAIRO, Nov. 6, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On Sunday, Bishop Anba Tawadros of Beheria was elected as the new Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. His Holiness Tawadros succeeds Shenouda III who passed away in March.
In a telegram sent to Pope-elect Tawadros, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his joy upon hearing of the election of the new Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark and extended his “good wishes and prayerful solidarity” with the Coptic Orthodox Church.
“I am confident that, like your renowned predecessor Pope Shenouda III, you will be a genuine spiritual father for your people and an effective partner with all your fellow citizens in building the new Egypt in peace and harmony, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East,” the Pope said.
Pope-elect Tawadros is the 118thOrthodox Coptic Patriarch, the first in the post-Mubarak era. The current ruling party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, hailed the new election and congratulated Pope Tawadros. The party expressed optimism, hoping for a “positive cooperation with the new Patriarch, considered spiritual guide of Coptic brothers in the diffusion of the values of justice, liberty and equality.”
The 60 year old Coptic Orthodox Patriarch obtained a degree in pharmaceutical engineering before opting for the religious life. The Egyptian media highlighted his theological capability and his pastoral activity with young people.
Pope Benedict cited the important progress made by the late Pope Shenouda III in fostering a deeper relationship between the two faiths.
“I thank the Almighty for the important progress that was made, under the leadership of your esteemed predecessor, in the relations between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, and I earnestly hope and pray that our continuing friendship and dialogue, guided by the Holy Spirit, will bear fruit in ever closer solidarity and lasting reconciliation,” the Holy Father said.
Concluding his message, the Pope wished Pope-elect Tawadros “peace and strength” on his new task as pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark.
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For the Pope’s telegram to Pope Tawadros, go to http://www.zenit.org/article-35880?l=english