The Coptic Orthodox church chose a new pope, Bishop Tawdros, on Sunday to lead the Middle East’s biggest Christian community. In a ritual filled with prayer, chants and incense at Abbasiya cathedral in Cairo, the 60-year-old bishop’s name was picked by a blindfolded child from a glass bowl in which the names of two other candidates had also been placed.
Tawadros replaces Pope Shenouda III who led the church for four decades until he died in March aged 88. Many will look to the new pope to ensure the voice of Copts, who have long complained of discrimination in Egypt, are heard.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the largest branch of Catholicism in the Middle East, counting tens of millions of adherents in Egypt and around the world.
The Roman Catholic Church is working to bring the other eastern catholic churches, Anglicans and Protestants back under its leadership. They are doing this by trying to establish the papacy as the moral leader of the world without necessarily changing organazational matters.
This event comes as violence with Salafi Muslims continues in Sinai, and Egypt has pledged to support for international military action against Syria and Iran. Egypt also quietly support an Israeli operation in Gaza to destroy the militants there [who are behind the attacks in Egypt]. Expect strong Egyptian verbal objections as they actually take pactical steps to support the Israeli operation in Gaza.
Three soldiers were killed and two others injured in an ambush by Salafist gunmen in the El Arish region of northern Sinai, state television reported Saturday. After shooting up the police vehicle with anti-tank rockets and automatic rifles, the gunmen escaped.