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Egypt's Copts await child to select new pope
Al-Jazeera ^ | 4 Nov 2012 | anon

Posted on 11/03/2012 11:37:20 PM PDT by BlackVeil

Egypt's Coptic Christians will learn who is to be their new leader after a blindfolded altar boy, believed to be directed by God, chooses one of three names out of a box.

The new Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa in the Holy See of St Mark the Apostle will on Sunday succeed Pope Shenuda III, who died in March leaving behind a community anxious about its future under an Islamist-led government.

He will be the 118th pope in a line dating back to the origins of Christianity and to Saint Mark, the apostle and author of one of the four Gospels, who brought the new faith to Egypt.

Nearly 2,500 Coptic public officials, MPs, journalists and local councilors already voted to select three finalists from an original group of five to succeed Shenuda, who died at the age of 88 after four decades on the papal throne.

They are Bishop Rafael, 54, a medical doctor and current assistant bishop for central Cairo; Bishop Tawadros of the Nile Delta province of Beheira, 60; and Father Rafael Ava Mina, the oldest of the five original candidates at 70.

Their names will now be placed in a transparent box on the altar of Cairo's St Mark's Cathedral for Sunday's ceremony.

On Saturday, the interim head of the Church, Father Pachomius, was to choose 12 altar boys between the ages of five and eight, one of whom he will order to be blindfolded during the ceremony.

Sectarian fears

Strict measures are taken to ensure there is no foul play during the entire process, before a large congregation and televised. The three pieces of paper are all the same size, tied up the same way and placed in the box.

Shenuda, known as a careful, pragmatic leader, died at a critical time for the increasingly beleaguered minority, which has faced a surge in sectarian attacks after an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The pope serves as the spiritual leader of the country's Coptic Christians, who make up between six and 10 per cent of Egypt's 83-million population.

Amid increased fears about the community's future after Mubarak's overthrow, the new pope will be its main contact with Egypt's first Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.

The rise of Islamists after the revolution has sparked fears among Copts of further persecution at home, despite Morsi's repeated promises to be a president "for all Egyptians".

In the latest incident, five Copts were injured in clashes with Muslims at a church in a village south of Cairo on October 28, security sources said.

The violence broke out when Muslim villagers tried to block access to the church as the Coptic faithful arrived for Sunday mass.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: copts; egypt; religion
This ceremony adds a mystical note to the process of selection. I think it is a good thing. No one can be sure of intriguing his way into Papal Office - the final step is left to either chance, or the divine will, depending upon how one sees it.
1 posted on 11/03/2012 11:37:28 PM PDT by BlackVeil
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To: BlackVeil

It’s left to a small, blindfolded boy, which is more than a little creepy and just like Middle Easterners. No goat entrails available?

2 posted on 11/04/2012 12:21:14 AM PDT by twister881
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To: twister881

I... think you might be reading a bit much into that.

3 posted on 11/04/2012 12:32:24 AM PDT by JerseyanExile
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To: JerseyanExile
I dunno ... WE have a kid calling some important shots ... don't we ??
4 posted on 11/04/2012 3:06:44 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: twister881

That is a bit strange

5 posted on 11/04/2012 3:09:54 AM PST by GeronL (
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To: BlackVeil

After the kid draws the name, I want him to open the other two as well. Make sure there isn’t a “ball” under every “cup”.

When I started reading, I thought the boy was going to be pope, like the dalai lama.

6 posted on 11/04/2012 3:28:03 AM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (REPEAL WASHINGTON! -- Islam Delenda Est! -- I Want Constantinople Back. -- Rumble thee forth.)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide
Yes, I too, for a moment, thought that the child himself was going to be picked out. But then, I realised it could not be that way.

After the kid draws the name, I want him to open the other two as well. Make sure there isn’t a “ball” under every “cup”.

AH! I never thought of that, but of course you are right. I was so caught up in the mystical images, and blindfolded little boy figure, that I forgot about rigged contests. You are sharper - you had better come with me if I am buying a property. LOL.

7 posted on 11/04/2012 3:33:43 AM PST by BlackVeil
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