10/29/2012, 00.00
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Egypt, penultimate stage to choose the successor Shenouda III

A council of more than two thousand voters - laity, monks, priests and prelates - indicate three names among the five candidates. The final ceremony for the election of the new pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the 4th of November. New clashes between Muslims and Copts: five Christians injured.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Today in Egypt, the penultimate stage of the work to elect the new pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church is underway. Of the five candidates already selected by 2405, among the laity, monks, priests and prelates voters will indicate three: on the 4th of November, they will choose the successor to Shenouda III, who died last March 17. Meanwhile, there were clashes yesterday between Copts and Muslims in a village south of Cairo. A group of Muslims attempted to prevent the local Christians entering the church to attend Sunday mass. The result was an altercation, in which five Christians were injured.

The five candidates are: Amba Raphael, 52, a bishop in charge of parishes in the center of Cairo; Tawadraus Amba, 60, bishop of Behaira; Higoumen Rouphail Afa Mina, 70, of Mari Mina monastery and student of the patriarch Kyrillos VI , precedecessor to the deceased patriarch, al-Souryani Serafini, 53, of the monastery of the Syrians Dayr al-Souryan, where he Shenouda III was a monk, the hegumen Pakhomios, 49, the youngest candidate, also from Dayr al- Souryan.

The Electoral Commission has been studying the files of the 17 candidates, since 4 October. According to local sources, it is under massive pressure to speed up the selection of the new head of the Orthodox Church, in order to address the problems experienced in recent months by the Coptic community in Egypt. After setting November 24 and December 2 as the date for the second and third phase election, last week, the Commission further accelerated the time, anticipating the second phase to today. The final ceremony - scheduled for November 4 - will be held in the Cathedral of St. Mark Abassya, with the draw of one of the three names on the altar made by a child (blindfolded) of no more than nine years, chosen from among the faithful.

The Coptic Church has about 16 million members worldwide. Out of a population of 80 million people, it represents 10% in Egypt.


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See also
Cairo: three candidates in race to succeed Shenouda III
Coptic Christians after Shenouda
Shenouda III, Patriarch of the Copts, dies
Egyptian Coptic patriarch will not celebrate Epiphany in public tomorrow
Pope sends message for Shenouda III's death, huge crowds form to see his body


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