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Egypt: How to pick a spiritual leader…

November 5, 2012

… out of a hat.

A blindfolded boy selected the new Pope for millions of Coptic Christians in Egypt on Sunday, becoming his mother’s pride and joy in the process.

Nearly 2500 eligible voters, made up of Coptic public officials, MPs, journalists and local councillors, preselected three candidates to succeed Pope Shenouda III, who died in March at the age of 88.

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

Their names were written on separate pieces of paper and placed in a box on the altar of St Mark’s Cathedral, for God to guide the boy’s hand towards the winner – according to the beliefs of the church and the faithful.

Bishop Tawadros, an aide to the acting pope, was selected to become Pope Tawadros II, replacing the charismatic Pope Shenouda III who spent 40 years at the helm of the church.

”A lot of families propose the names of children, that’s why we lay down precise criteria and ensure the faithfulness of the family and the child to the church,” said Bishop Pola from Tanta, in the Nile Delta.


The newer, more stringent rules were imposed in 1971 after the death of Pope Davy Crockett.


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