The 117th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church and head of its Holy Synod, Pope Shenouda was born August 3, 1923. He presided over the Coptic Church since his election on November 14, 1971...
Pope Shenouda presided over a worldwide expansion of the Coptic Orthodox Church in recent time, due primarily to emmigration. He appointed the first Coptic bishops to serve his Church’s North American dioceses, which number an estimated 200 parishes in the US, 23 in Canada, and one in Mexico, and the first bishops in Australia and South America.
At home, he faced turbulent times, and at one point had been placed under house arrest in a monastery. Shenouda was well known as a man of prayer and asceticism, as reflected in his many writings. May his memory be eternal!
Read also the statement of the Holy Synod of the OCA (Dec 21, 2011), in which the Synod expressed its concern for and solidarity with the Coptic Church, sent to the Embassy of Egypt in Washington, DC, to the Egyptian Mission to the United Nations, to government authorities in Egypt, and was shared with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Axios to our hierarchs for their support of our persecuted brethren.
Orthodox Christians the world over ought to be commemorating and thanking God for the meek yet lion-hearted Shenouda, whose served as Pope during a period of ever increasing persecution of Christians in Egypt and throughout the Islamic world.
For a dissenting view on His Holiness Shenouda, here is a message from an Egyption Muslim cleric, captured by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), whose diligent work in posting Muslim media broadcasts explodes the myth of a "moderate Islam" and reveals the continuity of Islam's anti-Christian and anti-Semitic core:
Following are excerpts from a statement by Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim, which was posted on the Internet on March 18, 2012 :
Praise be to Allah. With the grace of Allah, the head of unbelief and polytheism, known as Shenouda, died yesterday, may Allah exact revenge from him. God's worshippers and the trees and the animals were all relieved by his death. Egypt is relieved by his [death], because he generated sectarian strife…This dead accursed criminal, known as Shenouda, was told that the Koran says, in Surat Al-Maida: "And [beware the day] when Allah will say: Oh Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people: Take me and my mother as gods beside Allah?" [Shenouda] said: "We don't take Christ and his mother as gods beside Allah. He Is God."The truth is that he was very clear in his enmity to Islam. When the Muslim Brothers would chant their slogan: "The Koran is our constitution," he would respond: "The New Testament is our constitution." When they would say: "Death for the sake of Allah is our highest aspiration," he would say: "Death for the sake of Christ is our highest aspiration."
He used to say that Egypt was under Muslim occupation. He demanded to abolish the Islamic shari'a and turn Egypt into a Coptic state. […]
Are we supposed to send condolences or be sad about someone like this? We should be happy that he died. Let him go to Hell. May Allah exact revenge from him in the Hellfire – from him and from all those who follow his path...
Glory be to God for His Holiness Pope Shenouda, who remained to the end a faithful confessor of Jesus Christ, and completed his life in faith. His courageous spiritual leadership of the Coptic faithful, a tiny island of Christians surrounded by a sea of raging hatred, epitomized Psalm 120:7: "I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war."
May his soul dwell with the righteous, and may his memory be eternal...
Update on Egyptian Cleric Wagdi Ghoneim: This fellow has previously gone on the record as stating that democracy is based on heresy, and that Copts and Christians should not have equal rights under Egyptian law. See his TV interviews here and here.