07/11/2012 2:30 pm
In a Middle East Analysis special, Bishops' MENA consultant Dr Harry Hagopian looks at the selection of the new 'Coptic Pope' - Bishop Tawadros.
On 4 November, in what the media described as an 'altar lottery', Bishop Tawadros' name, along with those of two other vetted candidates, was sealed in a chalice inside a glass box placed on the altar of St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. In accordance with tradition, a young boy wearing a blindfold approached the glass box and once Bishop Pachomious, serving as acting Pope, had broken the wax seal, the boy picked out the name of the man who will be enthroned Pope Tawadros II on 18 November 2012.
A holder of degrees in Pharmacy and Theology, the 60-year-old succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March aged 88.
He will be the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa in the Holy See of St Mark the Apostle.
Dr Harry Hagopian assesses the challenges that will face Pope Tawadros II:
"I believe that it's important for the Pope-elect to address the youth of the country, the Copts inside and outside the country and finally issues to do with Christian-Muslim relations. One thing that delights me is that President Morsi of Egypt - who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood - will attend the enthronement on 18 November. That won't define a new reality to relations between religions across the country but it is an indication of an openness and therefore hope for the future.
"I'm hoping Anba Tawadros will make the Church more relevant - this is the key issue. A Church is not only walls, ceremonies, rituals and bishops - what the Church is all about is you and I. Jesus said: 'Put two people together and I'm there amongst you'. That's what the Church is all about."
The full podcast can be downloaded/played at the top right-hand corner of this page.
Duration: 13m 34s
You can also listen to Dr Hagopian on AudioBoo. Follow us at audioboo.fm/catholicchurch
Will the New Pope also herald a New Era?
An article by Dr Harry Hagopian published by the thinktank Ekklesia
Dr Harry Hagopian's website.
Dr Harry Hagopian