Bishop Tawadros was selected Sunday as the 118th pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church.
A blind—folded boy drew out the name of Tawadros on a piece of paper from inside a glass urn on the altar of St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, where it had been placed along with the names of the two other short—listed candidates.
Tawadros, 60, succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after leading the church for more than four decades.
The boy, himself chosen in a draw from 12, picked the winning piece of paper after a special Mass.
To the cheers of the audience crowded inside the cathedral, the acting Pope Pachomius unrolled the paper to reveal the winning name of Bishop Tawadros.
Pachomius then held up the other two pieces of paper to show that they carried the names of the other candidates and the assembled priests chanted hymns in the ancient Coptic language.
Supreme Guide of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badae, congratulated the new pontiff and wished him success “in the interest of Egypt and its people,” reported the group’s website.
Christians account for around 10 per cent of Egypt’s Muslim—majority 83 million population.
Born Wagih Sobhi in November 1952, Tawadros was an auxiliary bishop of the Egyptian Nile province of Beheira.
He studied pharmacy in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria and pursued post—graduate studies in Britain.
He became a priest in 1990 and is noted for his managerial skills, according to sources in the Church.
Some Christians have urged the new pontiff to steer the Church away from politics.
“The Church previously played a political role, which led to negative results,” prominent Coptic writer Gamal Assad told the semi—official newspaper Al Ahram.
In 1981, Egypt’s then president Anwar al—Sadat banished Pope Shenouda to a desert monastery for barring Christians from visiting holy sites in Israel with which al—Sadat had signed a peace treaty two years earlier.
Tawadros, to be called Pope Tawadros II, is due to be inaugurated on November 18.
Keywords: Coptic Orthodox Church