CAIRO, Egypt: Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt’s Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, has died. He was 88.
The state news agency MENA said Shenouda died Saturday after battling liver and lung problems for several years. A Coptic Church TV station ran a picture of the pope, with a running feed reading, “The Coptic Church prays to God that he rest in peace between the arms of saints.”
The patriarch, known in Arabic as Baba Shenouda, headed one of the most ancient churches in the world, which traced it founding to St. Mark, who is said to have brought Christianity to Egypt in the 1st Century during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero.
For Egypt’s estimated 10 million Coptic Christians, he was a religious thinker and a charismatic leader, known for his sense of humor — his smiling portrait was hung in many Coptic homes and shops.