Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria

This article uses dates and years written in the Coptic calendar, using the A.M. (Anno Martyrum) calendar era, in addition to the Gregorian calendar, using the A.D. (Anno Domini) calendar era.

His Holiness
Pope Shenouda III
117th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of St. Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

Pope Shenouda III
Native name

  • Ⲡⲁⲡⲁ Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ϣⲉⲛⲟⲩϯ ⲅ̅
  • البابا شنودة الثالث

Papacy began

14 November 1971

4 Hathor 1688
Papacy ended

17 March 2012

8 Paremhat 1728
Predecessor Cyril VI
Successor Tawadros II
Ordination 1954/1670 (Priesthood)

30 September 1962

20 Thout 1678 (Episcopal)
Personal details
Birth name Nazeer Gayed Roufail
نظير جيد روفائيل
Born (1923-08-03)3 August 1923
Abnub, Asyut Governorate, Egypt
Died 17 March 2012(2012-03-17) (aged 88)
Cairo, Egypt
Buried Monastery of Saint Pishoy, Scetes, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian
Residence Coptic Orthodox Patriarchal Residence

Pope Shenouda III (Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ʃeˈnuːdæ]; Coptic: Ⲡⲁⲡⲁ Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ϣⲉⲛⲟⲩϯ ⲅ̅   Papa Abba Šenoude pimah šoumt ; Arabic: بابا الإسكندرية شنودة الثالث Bābā al-Iskandarīyah Shinūdah al-Thālith ; 3 August 1923 – 17 March 2012;[1] 27 Epip 1639 – 8 Paremhat 1728) was the 117th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. His episcopate lasted 40 years, four months, and 4 days from 14 November 1971 (4 Hathor 1688) until his death on 17 March 2012 (8 Paremhat 1728).

His official title was Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. He was also the head of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. He was a conservative figure within the Church;[2] and was also respected within the Muslim community.[3]

Born Nazeer Gayed Roufail (نظير جيد روفائيل, IPA: [nɑˈzˤiːɾ ˈɡæjjed ɾʊfæˈʔiːl]) on 3 August 1923 (27 Epip 1639), he became a monk in 1954 (1670) under the name Father Antonios the Syrian after joining the Syrian Monastery of the Ever-Virgin Mary the Theotokos. In 1958, he was elevated to the priesthood. In 1962 (1678), Pope Cyril VI summoned Fr. Antonios and consecrated him General Bishop for Christian Education and as Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary, whereupon he assumed the name Shenouda, which was the name of the Coptic saint, Shenoute the Archimandrite (lived 347/348–465/466), as well as two previous popes: Shenouda I (Episcopate 859–880) and Shenouda II (Episcopate 1047–1077). Saint Shenoute the Archimandrite was instrumental in flourishing the Monastic Movement, active in Ecumenical issues, a noted Church teacher and writer, and an Egyptian Leader. Pope Shenouda III maintained the legacy of the name he carried.

Following the death of Pope Cyril VI on 9 March 1971 (30 Meshir 1687), the selection process resulted in Bishop Shenouda's becoming the new Pope. He was consecrated on 14 November 1971 (4 Hathor 1688). During his papacy, the Coptic church grew significantly. He appointed the first ever bishops for North American dioceses, which now contain over two hundred parishes (214 in the United States, 38 in Canada and one in Mexico), up from four in 1971/1688. He also appointed the first Coptic bishops in Europe, Australia and South America. Within Egypt, he struggled for the welfare of his people and the Church. Pope Shenouda III was known for his commitment to ecumenism and had, since the 1970s/1680s, advocated inter-denominational Christian dialogue. He devoted his writings, teachings and actions to spreading and propagating guidelines for understanding, peace, dialogue and forgiveness.

At the time of his death, Pope Shenouda III was viewed as one of the Great Patriarchs of the ancient Church of Alexandria, a well-known church father and teacher, a chief defender of the faith, and a noted Egyptian leader of the 20th and 21st centuries A.D., and the 17th and 18th centuries A.M.

Early life

Papal styles of
Pope Shenouda III
Reference style His Most Blessed Beatitude and His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Pope and Patriarch
Posthumous style The Thrice Blessed Pope

Nazeer Gayed Roufail was born on 3 August 1923 in the village of Salaam, which administratively belongs to the Governorate of Asyut in Upper Egypt but ecclesiastically belongs to the Diocese of Manfalut. He was the youngest of a family of eight children, five girls and three boys – among whom were Raphael (Rouphael) and Shawki (Fr. Botros Gayed, 1918–1996). Nazeer's mother died shortly after his birth. He was raised by his older brother, Raphael, in Damanhur in lower Egypt, where he attended a Coptic Elementary School. Soon after, he studied at the American Middle School in Banha. He then moved to Shubra, a suburb of Cairo, where he enrolled at the Faith Senior Secondary (high school).

From the age of 14, Nazeer began reading poetry and he wrote many poems himself, especially between 1946 and 1962. By the age of 16, he was active in the Coptic Sunday School movement. He served as a Sunday School teacher, first at Saint Anthony's Church in Shoubra and then at Saint Mary's Church in Mahmasha.[4]

In 1943, Nazeer enrolled in Cairo University (then called the University of King Fouad I) studying towards a Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) degree, majoring in English and History. Meanwhile, he spent his summer vacations at the Western Desert Monastery of St. Mary, known as “Deir El-Suryan” (Syrian Monastery). While a university student, he was a trainee in the Egyptian Military Reserve Corps.

In 1946, while still in his final year of undergraduate studies, he was allowed to enroll in the evening classes at the Coptic Theological Seminary usually open only to University graduates but the dean of the Seminary, Archdeacon Habib Girgis (d. 1951), made an exception in the case of Nazeer. The Personality of Habib Girgis was instrumental in shaping that of the future Pope, and Pope Shenouda always spoke highly of Habib Girgis.

Nazeer graduated from Cairo University with a BA in History in 1947. After graduation, he completed his military service as dux (top of group), and began work as a teacher of English, History and Social Sciences in a high school in Cairo. Meanwhile, he attended graduate courses in Archaeology and Classics at Cairo University specializing in the History of Ancient Egypt and Islamic Egypt. He worked as a high school English and Social Studies teacher by day, and attended classes at the Coptic Theological Seminary by night. Upon graduation from the seminary in 1949, he was appointed to teach New Testament and Old Testament Studies at the Seminary.. In the same year, he became the Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday School Monthly Magazine. In 1950 Nazeer resigned from secular employment to take up a full-time lecturing position at the Seminary.

In 1952 he was elected member of the Egyptian Journal Syndicate. In 1953, he was appointed a lecturer at the Monastic College in Helwan, offering courses in Theology there, and in the same year he began his dialogue with Jehovah's Witnesses, writing articles about their beliefs in the Sunday School Magazine.

Nazeer with others laboured for several years to establish a strong Sunday School and youth group at St Anthony's Church in Shubra. His ministry produced many devoted servants, who began establishing youth groups in neighbouring parishes.

An avid reader, he was a keen student of languages and a man of vast ecumenical insights. He spoke fluent Arabic, English, Coptic and French, and read Greek, Latin and Amharic.

Monastic life and educational service

On 18 July 1954, Nazeer joined the monastic life at the Syrian Monastery of the Ever-Virgin Mary the Theotokos in Scetes in the Nitrian Desert (Western desert in Egypt). He was given the name of Father Antonios el-Syriani (Anthony the Syrian). From 1956 to 1962, he lived as a hermit in a cave about seven miles from the monastery, dedicating his time to meditation, prayer, and asceticism. His austerity was known to be exceptional even by monastic standards.

On 31 August 1958, he was ordained as priest by the Late Bishop Theophilus, then abbot of St Mary Monastery (Syrian Monastery).

Antonios el-Syriani was among the candidates nominated for the papal throne in 1959, but at that time, Pope Cyril VI was chosen for the post.


On 30 September 1962, Pope Cyril VI appointed him to the bishopric of Christian Education and as Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary, and renamed him Shenouda in honour of the most renowned scholar and writer in Coptic, Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite (lived 347/348–465/466).[5]

Under Bishop Shenouda's leadership, the number of students at the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary tripled.[5] Bishop Shenouda was suspended in 1966 by Pope Cyril VI,[6][7] essentially because of "campaigns for change" instigated by Shenouda and his students. These campaigns, among other things, called for popular election of bishops and priests, a principle that Bishop Shenouda later applied when he became Pope of Alexandria. This conflict between Pope Cyril VI and Bishop Shenouda was later resolved.

Pope and Patriarch

Pope Shenouda III at the consecration of a Coptic Church in Staten Island, New York City.

He was enthroned as Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark on 14 November 1971, nearly nine months after the death of Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria. The ceremony was the first enthroning of a Coptic Pope to take place in the new Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. He was the third Alexandrian Partriarch to take the name Shenouda; his namesakes were Shenouda I (859–880) and Shenouda II (1047–1077).

Less than one year after becoming Pope of the Church of Alexandria, in October 1972, Pope Shenouda visited the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope of Rome, becoming the first Alexandrian Pope to do so since the Christological schism of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE. In May 1973, he penned a Christological statement that was agreed upon with the Roman Catholic Church and the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches on the Nature of Christ, in a step towards settling the dispute of 451 and moving towards Christian unity. On 10 May 1973, he celebrated the return by the Roman Catholic Church of part of the relics of St Athanasius of Alexandria. From 25 to 30 September 1974 he went on a pastoral trip to visit the Ethiopian Church during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

Between 14 April and 23 May 1974, he became the first Archbishop of Alexandria to visit North America when he visited the USA and Canada. It was to become the first of many visits to that part of the world during his long Episcopate. He also visited Australia six times. The first visit was in 1989 (18 November – 10 December), the second was in 1991 (5–26 February), the third in 1993, the fourth in 1995 (August–September), and the fifth in 1996. His sixth and final trip took place in November 2002. He conducted an extended Silver Jubilee tour from 18 May to 20 December 1996, which took him to Europe, Canada, USA and Australia. From 11 to 13 April 2008, he made a second historical trip to Ethiopia following the resolution of the strain in the relationship between the two Churches caused by the communist coup in Ethiopia decades earlier.

Political stances

Falling out with President Sadat

Ten years into his papacy, in 1981, Pope Shenouda III had famously fallen out with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. The relationship between the two men deteriorated for several reasons.

Sadat was seen by Shenouda as becoming increasingly dictatorial following his acclaim in the international arena for the peace accord with Israel. In September 1981 Sadat rescinded the presidential decree of 1971 recognizing Shenouda as Pope of Alexandria, and Shenouda was banished by Sadat to an ancient desert monastery. However, the Christians of Egypt continued to view Shenouda as their Pope and only leader, and he continued to conduct his duties from his desert monastery: ecclesiastically, Sadat's decision was ineffective. Sadat was assassinated a month later, on 6 October 1981, by Islamic extremists, and in January 1985 Pope Shenouda III was fully reinstated by Sadat's successor, Hosni Mubarak.


Pope Shenouda III had arguments with then President Anwar Sadat over both the Camp David Accords and what he said was the president's deficient response to growing Islamism.[8] After a series of protests that led president Sadat to depose Pope Shenouda III, he was exiled by Sadat and sent to the Nitrian Desert, to return three years after Sadat's assassination following an amnesty by Sadat's successor Hosni Mubarak.

His stance toward Israel was encapsulated by his words:

From the Arabic national point we should not abandon our Palestinian brothers and our Arabic brothers by normalising our relations with the Jews ... From the church point of view, Copts who go to Jerusalem betray their church in the case of "Al-Sultan Monastery" that Israel refuses to give to the Copts.

He also warned that Copts who visited Jerusalem would face excommunication on the premise that there was "no pilgrimage duty in Christianity and it is not a religious pillar, so since this visit can do harm to our national cause and [to the] Muslim and Christian people then we better not visit Jerusalem." He added that Copts should only go to Jerusalem after peace was established in the region.[9] Some of the Coptic property within the compound of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (including the Coptic monastery known as Deir El-Sultan) was delegated to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Upon the application of some bishops, the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod, based on the direction of Pope Shenouda III, also decided to ask Copts not to visit Jerusalem until the Church possessions and the monastery be returned. In 2006, the Holy Synod renewed the decree, urging Copts not to visit the Christian holy places in Israel, including Jerusalem.[10]

His view on Palestinian suicide bombers was that it was a "natural reaction to the pressure and depression in which Palestinians live. They do not see any alternative but to explode themselves in the face of an enemy that uses all the means of power with no mercy."[9]

Suicide bombers

In the light of the September 11 attacks, he said of suicide bombing as a tactic that:[9]

People who support and found reasons to feel good over these incidents are doing more than one wrong thing: first, ignoring the tragedy of killing an innocent group of people. Second, not thinking about the reaction of showing they found satisfaction in the incidents. Third, they are considered accomplices in the crime. Fourth, they are committing a wrongful act not approved by religion.

Persecution of Christianity in Egypt in his time

A large number of Muslims in Egypt unambiguously consider all non-Muslim religions as heresy. Persecution against Christians during Pope Shenouda III's reign was chiefly conducted by private individuals and organizations, especially radical Salafis, although the state continued to enforce long-standing discriminatory policies and engage in occasional Christian-baiting. Particularly in Upper Egypt, the rise in extremist Salafi groups such as the Gama'at Islamiya during the 1980s was accompanied by attacks on Copts and on Coptic churches. The police have been accused of siding with the attackers in some of these cases.[11]

Hundreds of Christian Coptic girls have been kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, as well as being victims of rape and forced marriage to Muslim men.[12][13]

On Sunday, 2 January 2000, 21 Coptic Christians in Kosheh village in Upper (southern) Egypt, 450 kilometers south of Cairo, were massacred by Salafists. Christian properties were also burned.[14]. Later, a criminal court in Sohag governorate released all 89 defendants charged in the New Year's massacre in Kosheh without bail. Pope Shenouda III rejected the verdict openly, and told reporters, "We want to challenge this ruling. We don't accept it." As the court sentence could not be appealed, Pope Shenouda III said: "We will appeal this sentence before God."[15]

In April 2006, one person was killed and twelve injured in simultaneous knife attacks on three Coptic churches in Alexandria.[16]

In November 2008, several thousand Muslims attacked a Coptic church in a suburb of Cairo on the day of its inauguration, forcing 800 Coptic Christians to barricade themselves in.[17]

In April 2009, two Christian men were shot dead and another was injured by Muslim men after an Easter vigil in the south of Egypt.[18]

On 18 September 2009, a Muslim man called Osama Araban beheaded a Coptic Christian man in the village of Bagour, and injured 2 others in 2 different villages. He was arrested the following day.[19]

On the eve of 7 January 2010, after the Eastern Christmas Mass finished (which finishes around midnight), Copts were going out of Mar-Yuhanna (St. John) church in Nag Hammadi city when three Muslim men in a car near the church opened fire killing 8 Christians and injuring another 10.[20][21]

On New Year's Day 2011, just 20 minutes after midnight as Christians were leaving a Coptic Orthodox Church in the city of Alexandria after a New Year's Eve service a car bomb exploded in front of the Church killing more than 23 and injuring more than 75.[22][23][24]

On 7 May 2011, an armed group of Islamists, including Salafists, attacked and set fire to two churches including Saint Menas Coptic Orthodox Christian Church and the Coptic Church of the Holy Virgin, in Cairo. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 12 people and more than 230 wounded. It is reported that the events were triggered by a mixed marriage between a Christian woman and a Muslim man.[25]

Successive Egyptian governments have long held in place laws that hampered the freedom of Christian worship and restricted the right to build or even renovate churches. They maintained and enforced an Ottoman era Hamayouni Decree restrictions on building or repairing churches. These governments also restricted Christians from senior government, diplomatic, military, and educational positions, and there has been increasing discrimination in the private sector.[12][26] The government allowed various media outlets to attack Christianity and restricted Christians access to the state-controlled media to defent themselves or speak their minds.[26]

Security agencies sporadically persecuted Muslim converts to Christianity.[26] In Egypt the government does not officially recognize conversions from Islam to Christianity; because certain interfaith marriages are not allowed either, this prevents marriages between converts to Christianity and those born in Christian communities, and also results in the children of Christian converts being classified as Muslims and given a Muslim education.[26]

Church growth

Pope Shenouda III during the consecration of a new Coptic Church in New York, US.

The papacy of Pope Shenouda III saw an expansion of the Coptic Orthodox Church in North America. While there were only four Coptic Orthodox churches in all of North America in 1971, today there are more than two hundred.[27][28] Pope Shenouda established the first Diocese in the lands of immigration for the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in 1991, the Diocese of Birmingham; and appointed the general bishop for the United Kingdom at the time, Bishop Missael to oversee it by consecrating and enthroning him as its bishop.

Relations with other churches

Pope Shenouda III was well known for his commitment to ecumenism.[29] In 1973, Pope Shenouda III became the first Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria to meet the Pope of Rome in over 1500 years. In this visit, Pope Shenouda III and Pope Paul VI signed a common declaration on the issue of Christology and agreed to further discussions on Christianity.[30] There were also dialogues with various Protestant churches worldwide.

In an address he gave at an ecumenical forum during the International Week of Prayer in 1974, he declared, "The whole Christian world is anxious to see the church unite. Christian people, being fed up with divisions, are pushing their church leaders to do something about church unity and I am sure that the Holy Spirit is inspiring us."

Ethiopian Church conflict

Following the arrest and imprisonment of Abune Tewophilos, Patriarch of Ethiopia, by the Marxist Derg regime that had deposed Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, Pope Shenouda III refused to recognise the cleric who was installed as the Ethiopian Patriarch's successor. He, along with the Holy Synod, argued that the removal of Patriarch Abune Tewophilos was illegal and contrary to canon law, as it was an act of political interference. In the eyes of the Church of Alexandria, Abune Tewophilos remained the legitimate Patriarch of Ethiopia.

Though Patriarch Tewophilos was said to have been executed, the government of Ethiopia did not acknowledge that this had happened. Thus, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria refused to recognise any other Patriarch as long as Abune Tewophilos' death had not been confirmed. Formal ties between the Coptics Church and Ethiopia were then severed, although they remained in full communion. Formal relations between the two churches resumed on 13 July 2007.[31]

Theological disputes

Pope Shenouda III was involved in theological disagreements concerning the issue of theosis—the transforming effect of divine grace. He published eight booklets explaining his view of theosis and lectured on the issue in the theological seminary of Cairo and also in the seminary of Alexandria. Following the death of Father Matta El Meskeen, who held an opposing view, Pope Shenouda III issued warnings against those views.[32][33] Other than the subliminal dispute with Fr. Matta El Meskeen, Shenouda got into theological disputes with Hany Mina Mikhail, George Habib Bebawi -whom he infamously excommunicated- and Henein Abd El Messih.

Illness and death

In the months prior to Pope Shenouda's death, rumours which were denied by the Holy Synod had spread through Cairo's Coptic community that he had fallen into a coma. He regularly flew to the United States for medical treatment and, according to his doctor he "[suffered] from kidney disease and diabetes."[34][35]

Pope Shenouda III died on 17 March 2012 (8 Paremhat 1728 in the Coptic calendar[36]) of lung and liver complications[37] at his official residence shortly after returning from medical treatment abroad.[38] He had stopped taking medication because he was too weak.[39] However, Al Jazeera English's Coptic Egyptian reporter Sherine Tadros reported that he had been in good spirits prior to his death.[3] The funeral took place after three days of lying in state;[40] on 20 March, he was buried at the Monastery of Saint Pishoy[39] in Wadi el-Natrun,[41] in accordance with his wishes. Metropolitan Pachomious of Beheira and Pentapolis was appointed to take over papal duties until the election of a new Pope, being the second-most senior Metropolitan in the Holy Synod in age after Anba Mikhail, but due to his failing health and age delegated this duty to Metropolitan Pachomios during the first meeting of the Holy Synod after Shenouda's death.[40]


During the night, an estimated one million or more mourners[38] were said to have visited his body at St. Mark's Cathedral, causing traffic jams stretching for kilometres.[40] The body was taken out of the coffin and lay in a seated position on a ceremonial throne dressed in gold- and red-embroidered vestments, a golden mitre upon his head with a gold-tipped staff in his hand. Many Coptic figures from across the world started to return to the country to pay their respects and work towards the selection of a new pope.[38] Mourners from across Egypt went to Saint Mark Cathedral in Abbaseya to pay their respects.[42] Bells tolled in Cairo's Abbasiya district, where the primary cathedral of the Coptic Church is located.[43] So large was the crowd of mourners gathering in Cathedral Square to pay their respects that three were killed and 137 injured in a crush as the queue to view the body of the deceased pope stretched for more than one kilometer.[44][45][46] Viewing was cut short after the tragedy, and the cathedral was closed to the public.[45]

The funeral of Pope Shenouda III was attended by religious figures in the Arab world. Shown in this image are, from the left, Moez Masoud and Habib Ali al-Jifri.

Political and religious reactions to his death came from across the Egyptian spectrum and internationally. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a statement on Facebook that expressed their wish of "preserving the unity of Egypt and the unity of its social fabric".[38] It added that with the loss, the country should "consolidate with each other in order to pass with Egypt towards security and stability."[47] Its leader, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, decreed three days of mourning for Christians working for state institutions.[41] The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party's Speaker of Parliament Saad Katatni said of Shenouda's death that Egypt had lost "one of its national icons, a man who left a void in the political arena at a critical time."[48] The party also issued a statement signed by the party's chairman Mohamed Morsi that stated Shenouda's life was "a long journey of big contribution in various fields domestically and abroad." Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri's statement read: "I give my sincere condolences to the Coptic brothers home and abroad. [He was a] national character and a symbol for patriotism and he gained wide respect and appreciation from the Egyptian people." Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf called Shenouda a "devout clergyman, a good citizen and a valuable leader. ... His vision was always that Egypt is not the country that we live in; but the country that lives in us." Upcoming presidential candidates also issued statements. Ahmed Shafiq said that his death was a loss to Egypt because he was a "unique religious leader and a distinguished character in the national history. Coptic church will pass this hard moment because of the great legacy of Pope Shenouda;" Amr Moussa said that Pope Shenouda III was "a great man who was working for the interests of the country. He was working for Egypt to stand as a unified front against the challenges facing the nation;" and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh's campaign issued a statement saying that Fotouh had spoken with the Church's bishop for youth, Bishop Moussa, to express his condolences to both the Coptic Church and Copts.[47] Al-Nour Party's Members of Parliament walked out when a minute's silence was held for Shenouda, with a party spokesman saying that "a minute of silence does not exist in Islam."[48]

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar University, said that "Egypt has lost one of its rare men at a sensitive moment when it most needs the wisest of its wise – their expertise and their purity of minds;"[40] he also added that he "greatly remembers his vision towards Jerusalem and its history."[38] Social media was said to be abuzz with memorials as well as criticism of Shenouda.[49]

International reactions included the following:

Director of the Holy See Press Office Federico Lombardi said that Benedict XVI desired that "the Lord welcomes this great pastor" and added that "we will never forget the meeting between Pope Shenouda III and Pope John Paul II in Cairo on the occasion of his pilgrimage to Mount Sinai [in 2000]..."[51] A statement attributed to him read: "The Catholic Church shares in the grief and prayers of Coptic Christians in mourning the loss of their spiritual leader...May the Lord welcome this great shepherd and give him the reward he deserves for his service."[40][53]
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her condolences on behalf of the United States to the Egyptian people[55] and said: "As we reflect on his life and legacy, we reaffirm our support to the future peace and prosperity of Egypt. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Egyptian people and all those who mourn Pope Shenouda III."[39]

Books by Pope Shenouda III

  • 1. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel
  • 2. Being with God*
  • 3. Biblical Competition
  • 4. Calmness*
  • 5. Characteristics of the Spiritual Path*
  • 6. Concepts
  • 7. Comparative Theology*
  • 8. Competition for Church History and Stories of Saints – Volume 3
  • 9. A Complete Spiritual Curriculum (Romans 12)
  • 10. Contemplations on Christmas
  • 11. Contemplations on the Prayer Before Sleeping
  • 12. Contemplations on the Prayer of Thanksgiving and Psalm 50
  • 13. Contemplations on the Resurrection
  • 14. Contemplations on the Sunset Prayer
  • 15. Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: Volume I
  • 16. Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: Volume II
  • 17. Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: Volume III
  • 18. Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: Volume IV
  • 19. The Creed
  • 20. Diabolic Warfare*
  • 21. Discipleship*
  • 22. The Divinity of Christ*
  • 23. Experiences in Life: Volume I*
  • 24. Experiences in Life: Volume II*
  • 25. Father Michael Ibrahim
  • 26. The Fear of God
  • 27. Fruits of the Spirit
  • 28. Grace
  • 29. Good Friday
  • 30. The Happy Spiritual Family
  • 31. The Heresy of Salvation in a Moment
  • 32. The Holy Spirit and His Work in Us
  • 33. Holy Thursday
  • 34. Holy Week
  • 35. The Holy Zeal*
  • 36. How Long, Lord? (Psalm 12)
  • 37. How to Deal with Children*
  • 38. How to Start a New Year
  • 39. Jacob and Joseph
  • 40. Jonah the Prophet*
  • 41. Judging Others*
  • 42. The Life of Abraham
  • 43. The Life of Faith*
  • 44. The Life of Hope*
  • 45. The Life of David
  • 46. The Life of Jacob
  • 47. The Life of Humility and Meekness
  • 48. The Life of Repentance and Purity*
  • 49. The Life of Thanksgiving*
  • 50. The Life of Virtues and Righteousness
  • 51. Lord, Do Not Rebuke Me in Your Anger (Psalm 6)
  • 52. Lord, How? (Psalm 3)
  • 53. The Lord’s Prayer
  • 54. Love: Summit of Virtues
  • 55. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part I*
  • 56. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part II*
  • 57. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part III*
  • 58. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part IV*
  • 59. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part V*
  • 60. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part VI*
  • 61. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part VII*
  • 62. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part VIII*
  • 63. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part IX*
  • 64. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part X*
  • 65. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part XI*
  • 66. Many Years With the Questions of People: Part XII*
  • 67. Monogamy
  • 68. Moses and Pharaoh
  • 69. The Nature of Christ*
  • 70. O God, You Are My God, Early I Will Seek You (Psalm 63)
  • 71. Pastoral Care
  • 72. Praise the Lord (Psalm 150)
  • 73. The Priesthood*
  • 74. Psalm 20: May the Lord Answer You
  • 75. Purgatory
  • 76. Quizzes
  • 77. Romans 12
  • 78. Return to God*
  • 79. The Release of the Spirit*
  • 80. The Righteous Job and the Temptations
  • 81. Saint Anthony*
  • 82. Saint Mark
  • 83. Salvation in the Orthodox Concept*
  • 84. The Sermon on the Mountain*
  • 85. The Seven Words of our Lord on the Cross*
  • 86. The Spirituality of Fasting*
  • 87. Spirituality of Prayer with the Agbia
  • 88. Spiritual Lukewarmness
  • 89. The Spiritual Means*
  • 90. The Spiritual Person*
  • 91. The Spiritual Service and the Spiritual Servant – Volume 1
  • 92. The Spiritual Service and the Spiritual Servant – Volume 2
  • 93. The Spiritual Service and the Spiritual Servant – Volume 3
  • 94. Spiritual Vigilance
  • 95. Spiritual Warfare*
  • 96. Tears
  • 97. Temptation on the Mountain
  • 98. Ten Concepts
  • 99. Thine is the Power and the Glory*
  • 100.Verses to Learn
  • 101.Why the Resurrection?
  • 102.Words of Spiritual Benefit: Volume I*
  • 103.Words of Spiritual Benefit: Volume II*
  • 104.Words of Spiritual Benefit: Volume III*
  • 105.Words of Spiritual Benefit: Volume IV*
  • 106.Wrath


In 2000, Pope Shenouda III was awarded the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura on the recommendation of an international jury. The award was "for promoting exchange and understanding between Christianity and Islam in today's Middle East and his deep concern to pursue dialogue with all the great religious faiths and his major role in forging ecumenical links with all other members of the Christian family throughout the planet."[58] In 2003 he received the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.[59]

See also


  1. "Pope of Egypt's Coptic Christian Church dies". USA Today. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  2. Zaken, Hillary (18 March 2012). "Egyptian Copts mourn death of pope". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  3. 1 2 Marten, Michael. "The significance of Pope Shenouda III". Ekklesia. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  4. Michael Samir Ghaly / / Wisdom Designs. "St Takla". St Takla. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Pope Shenouda III". Copticchurch.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  6. "العلامة القمص متى المسكين". Coptichistory.org. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  7. http://www.zeitun-eg.net/members_contrib/DrGeorgeHBebawi16Nov06.doc
  8. http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2012/03/how-pope-shenouda-kept-country-calm/
  9. 1 2 3 http://www.arabwestreport.info/sites/default/files/pdfs/AWRpapers/paper16.pdf
  10. http://www.copticpope.org/downloads/audio/kods_trip.zip
  11. "Funerals for victims of Egypt clashes". BBC News. 4 January 2000. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  12. 1 2 Catholic Online. "The Copts: Persecuted Christians of Egypt By Mounir Bishay 5/6/2009". Catholic.org. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  13. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. "Escalating Violence Against Coptic Women and Girls: Will the New Egypt Be More Dangerous than the Old?" (PDF).
  14. "Egypt's Christians seek answers after deadly riots". Christianitytoday.com. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  15. Baker, Barbara G. (14 May 2001). "Egypt's Prosecutor Appeals El-Kosheh Murder Acquittals". Atour.com. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  16. "Knife attacks on Egypt churches". BBC News. 14 April 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  17. Catholic Online. "Thousands of Muslims Attack Coptic Church in Cairo". Catholic.org. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  18. "BBC: Christians killed in Egypt feud". BBC News. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  19. "Muslim Man Beheads Christian in Egypt". Copts United. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  20. "News article from Egyptian newspaper Watani". Wataninet.com. 10 January 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  21. "News article". BBC News. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  22. Yolande Knell Middle East specialist (1 January 2011). "Egypt bomb kills 21 at Alexandria Coptic Church". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  23. Saleh, Yasmine (1 January 2011). "Reuters – Bomb kills 21 at Egypt Church". Reuters.com. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  24. Yolande Knell Middle East specialist (1 January 2011). "Egypt's president calls for unity after church bombing". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  25. State TV: At least 12 killed, 232 wounded in clashes at Cairo church, CNN.com, 8 May 2011.
  26. 1 2 3 4 "Persecuted Countries " Persecution of Christians & Persecuted Churches". Persecution.org. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  27. "CNEWA – The Coptic Orthodox Church". Cnewa.org. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  28. Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. Obituary: Pope Shenouda III BBC News Online, 17 March 2012
  30. Copticchurch.net H. H. Pope Shenouda III
  31. "Common Declaration" of Pope Shenoudah III, Catholicos Aram I, and Patriarch Paulos – News and Media of the Armenian Orthodox Church, 22 July 2007
  32. "English Keraza — Pope Shenouda III's explanation on why Fr. Matta was rejected — see Page 6" (PDF). Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  33. "Page 6 of Arabic El-Keraza (dated 23 June 2006) — Pope Shenouda III's explanation on why Fr. Matta was rejected". Copticpope.org. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  34. Khalil, Emad (30 January 2012). "Conflicting reports about H.H. Pope Shenouda III's health". Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  35. Fahmy, Mohamed (31 January 2012). "Egypt's Coptic Pope in poor health, official says". CNN. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  36. "Egypt's Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III dies". BBC. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  37. "Egypt Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III dies: adviser | Top News | Reuters". Af.reuters.com. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  38. 1 2 3 4 5 "BBC News – Thousands mourn Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenouda III". Bbc.co.uk. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  39. 1 2 3 "Egyptian church prepares for the funeral of Pope Shenouda III". English.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  40. 1 2 3 4 5 "Tributes and mourning for Coptic Pope". Al Jazeera English. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  41. 1 2 3 Reuters in Cairo (18 March 2012). "Egyptian Christians mourn Orthodox pope Shenouda III | World news". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  42. "Mourners flock to Abbasseya Cathedral to pay respects to Pope Shenouda III". Medianet2.com. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  43. "News :: Middle East :: Egypt Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III dies: adviser". The Daily Star. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  44. AsiaNews (March 19, 2012). "Pope sends message for Shenouda III's death, huge crowds form to see his body". AsiaNews. AsiaNews Italy. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  45. 1 2 AFP (March 20, 2012). "Thousands attend funeral of Coptic Pope Shenouda III". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  46. Tovrov, Daniel (March 19, 2012). "Egypt: Three Dead After Vigil For Coptic Christian Pope". International Business Times. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  47. 1 2 3 "SCAF, political figures react to Shenouda death". Egypt Independent. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  48. 1 2 "Autumn of another patriarch". The Economist. 24 March 2012.
  49. "On social media, Pope Shenouda III is both mourned and criticized :: NET2 News". Medianet2.com. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  50. "Pope's Message of condolence to Coptic Christians". News.va. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  51. 1 2 "Pope Benedict XVI offers prayers for Coptic Pope Shenouda III – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online". English.ahram.org.eg. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  52. "Pope praises Shenouda III, shares pain over death – Lebanon Daily News". Ldnews.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  53. http://www.news.va/en/news/press-office-statement-on-the-death-of-pope-shenou
  54. "PressTV – Iran offers condolences to Egypt over passing of Pope Shenouda III". Presstv.ir. 17 March 2011. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  55. "Egyptians Mourn Coptic Pope Shenouda III | News | English". Voanews.com. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  56. http://news.am/eng/news/98217.html
  57. http://asbarez.com/101768/karekin-ii-aram-i-offer-condolences-on-coptic-pope%E2%80%99s-death/
  58. "UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence (2009)" (PDF). UNESCO. 2009.
  59. Was Turkish PM Erdogan the final recipient of the Qaddafi human rights prize? Blog.foreignpolicy.com, 25 February 2011
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria.
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Oriental Orthodox titles
Preceded by
Cyril VI
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Theodoros II
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