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Shenouda III (Gayyid) of Alexandria

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Books by HH Pope Shenouda III (in English)
{{Oriental}}[[Image:HH_Pope_Shenouda_III.jpg|thumb|250px|His Holiness Pope Shenouda III]]
His Holiness '''Pope Shenouda III (Gayyid)''' is was the 117th [[Church of Alexandria (Coptic)|Coptic Orthodox]] Pope of Alexandria(1971-2012). He died on [[March 17]], 2012.
==A Brief Biography of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III==
His Holiness was born on [[August 3]], 1923 in the city of Assiut in Upper Egypt; he was given the name of Nazir Gayed. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1947 from the University of Cairo. Mr. Gayed was very active in his church and served as a Sunday School teacher, first at Saint Anthony's Church in Shoubra and then at Saint Mary's Church in Mahmasha. He worked as a high school English and Social Studies teacher in Cairo by day, and attended classes at the Coptic Theological Seminary by night. Upon graduation from the seminary in 1949, he was chosen to teach New Testament Studies. He was appointed in 1953 as a teacher in the Monastic School.
From his youth, His Holiness enjoyed writing very much, especially poems; he is a remarkably literate man as evidenced by the over 100 books that have been written by him. For many years, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday School Magazine. At the same time, he followed his post-graduate studies at the Seminary of Archeology.
On [[July 18]], 1954, Mr. Gayed was led to the monastic life at [ "El-Suryan" Monastery] in the western desert of Egypt; he was given the name of Father Antonyos El-Suryaani. For six years, from 1956 to 1962, he lived a life of solitude in a cave about seven miles away from the monastery, dedicating all his time to meditation, prayer, and asceticism. He was among the candidates nominated for the papal throne in 1956, but [[Cyril_VI_%28Atta%29_of_Alexandria|Pope Cyril VI]] was the one ultimately chosen for the post.
In 1962, he was ordained by the late Pope Cyril VI as Bishop of Ecclesiastical (Religious) Education and was named President of the Coptic Theological Seminary; he was given the name of Bishop Shenouda on [[September 30]], 1962. Continuing from his literary past, Bishop Shenouda published the first issue of "El-Keraza" magazine in Arabic in 1965, and remains the Editor-in-Chief to this day. Bishop Shenouda was suspended in 1966 by Pope Kyrillos VI.<sup>[], []</sup> This was essentially the result of Bishop Shenouda's (and students') enthusiastic 'campaigns for change' that used rather strong words, e.g., supporting people's right to choose their bishops and priests, a principle he later applied when he became pope after the repose of Pope Kyrillos VI. This "conflict" between Pope Kyrillos VI and Anba Shenouda seems to have later been resolved.
On [[November 14]], 1971, His Holiness was enthroned as Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria, and successor of the see of St. Mark. Some argue that the choice of Pope Shenouda III as Pope (and Bishop) of the City of Alexandria is not canonical (against Nicea Canon 15 and other Church councils/canons), because His Holiness was already bishop (with another [[episcopate]]) in the 1960s.<sup>[], [], [], [], [], and p.30 onward in []</sup> However, there are also modern day examples from other Churches of patriarchs who were previously bishops before their election as patriarchs, e.g., [[Theophilus_III_%28Giannopoulos%29_of_Jerusalem|[1]]], [[Bartholomew_I_%28Archontonis%29_of_Constantinople|[2]]].
==Early Life==
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III was born the youngest of eight children (five sisters and two brothers) on [[August 3]], 1923 in the Upper Egyptian province of Assiut, and was named Nazeer Gayed. His mother passed away shortly after his birth. By the age of sixteen, Nazeer began service in the Sunday School of St. Anthony's Church in Shoubra, Cairo, where he also went to school.
In 1943, Nazeer entered the University of Cairo and completed a Bachelor of Arts in English and History while he spent his summer vacations at the Monastery of St. Mary (Souryan). Although at this time only graduate students were admitted to the evening classes at the Coptic Theological Seminary, Dean Archdeacon Habib Guirguis admitted Nazeer while he was still in his final year of undergraduate study.
[[Image:Photo.PopeShenoudaIIIAndBishopsTheophilosTadros.jpg|thumb|HH Pope Shenouda III (Center, with open book)]] The road to monasticism was a natural consequence of the desire from his early years to consecrate his life to Christ. "...I found in monasticism," Pope Shenouda once said, "a life of complete freedom and clarification." he joined the Souryan Monastery in Wadi El-Natroun and, a year later, he was ordained a priest, taking the name Fr. Antonyos (Anthony) El-Souryani. In 1959, [[Cyril_VI_%28Atta%29_of_Alexandria|His Holiness Pope Kyrillos VI]] appointed Fr. Antonyos as his personal secretary.
On [[September 30]], 1962, Pope Kyrillos VI ordained Fr. Antonyos as Bishop Shenouda, the first bishop for Christian Education. He became the President and Dean of the Theological Seminary, and by late 1969 the enrollment of full-time students doubled and the enrollment of part-time students increased 10 times its original number. Under his presidency, women were admitted to the College and several were appointed lecturers. His Grace's efforts were recognized in 1969 when he was elected President of the Association of Middle East Theological Colleges.
==Enthronement as Pope of Alexandria==
On [[March 9]], 1971, His Holiness Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) VI departed in peace. The Holy Synod met on [[March 22 ]] to plan for the election of the new Patriarch. Among the final three candidates was Bishop Shenouda. On [[October 31]], 1971, the altar ballot was conducted during the divine Liturgy on the Feast of Saint Reweis. At the end of the Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Antonyos, laid his hands on a young boy who was then blindfolded and told to choose one of the three pieces of paper from the box. The ballot box had been taken from the altar and placed on an elevated table. As the congregation prayed the Lord's Prayer and the words "Lord Have Mercy," the boy chose one of the pieces of paper and gave it to Metropolitan Antonyos, who then joyfully declared God's chosen shepherd for His church as His Grace Bishop Shenouda, Bishop of Education.
On [[November 14]], 1971, in Saint Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III was enthroned as 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark. His Holiness became the first patriarch of Alexandria since the fifth century to have been Dean of the Theological Seminary. He continues to lecture at the branches of the Seminary in Cairo, Alexandria, and abroad and at the Higher Institute of Coptic Studies. To meet the expanding ministry of Christian education, His Holiness established other branches of the seminary in Egypt, as well as three graduate institues: Biblical Studies, Hymnology, and Coptic Language. On [[November 29]], 1993, he officially opened the Institute of Pastoral Care. For his erudition in theology and scripture, His Holiness has been awarded four honorary Doctoral Degrees in Theology, three from American Universities and one from a German University.
His Holiness' edifying and spiritually uplifting sermons have won international acclaim; in 1978 the Browning Institute awarded him the prize for the best Christian preacher in the world. His Holiness is also the author of more than eighty books on a variety of subjects, and over the past 20 years, he has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Church's official magazine, EL-KERAZA.
==The Exile and Efforts of National Unity ==
During the early years of his enthronement, His Holiness Pope Shenouda had an amicable relationship with the late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat. However, during his presidency, violent Islamic fundamentalist groups increased all over Egypt, especially in the Universities. They started to attack the Copts, vandalize their businesses, and burn their churches, which led Pope Shenouda to protest to the government against this repeated violence. In spring 1981, Pope Shenouda refused to hold any public Church celebrations of Easter and didn't receive that year the President's delegates who are regularly sent to greet the Church and Coptic Christians on such occasions (this particular move by Pope Shenouda III was very embarrassing to President Sadat, both nationally and internationally). Sadat reacted by issuing a presidential decree to exile His Holiness to the Monastery of St. Bishoy, imprison eight bishops, twenty-four priest, leading Coptic lay figures, and ban “El-Keraza" magazine and “Watany" newspaper.
(Another major difference between Sadat and Pope Shenouda III is the attitude of the latter regarding the normalization of the relations between Egypt and Israel and His Holiness' very prominent Arab nationalist zeal. In fact, there is currently (as of 2006) a papal decree issued by Pope Shenouda III that anathematizes any Copt who dares to visit the Christian holy places in Jerusalem and Israel.<sup>[]</sup> According to that decree, such Copts are automatically banned from receiving Holy Communion in the Coptic Orthodox Church, with no route or mechanism being offered to them for repentance and lifting of this ban. Pope Shenouda III has repeatedly declared that Christians must only visit Jerusalem hand in hand with their Muslim brothers after the conflict with Israel is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. Because of this, many Copts, especially in the diaspora, have accused the pope of mixing religion (ban on receiving Holy Communion if one visits Jerusalem for pilgrimage) with politics (the Arab-Israeli conflict), and consider this papal decree unjustified.)
Despite having to spend forty months away from his flock, His Holiness continued to care for his church. He saw the exile as an opportunity for spiritual retreat and wrote sixteen books during that time.
[[Image:PopeShenoudaInHonolulu.jpg|thumb|His Holiness Pope Shenouda III (center) pictured with Fr. Nicholas V. Gamvas, Proistamenos and Gregory Malick, Protopsalti during his visit to Honolulu to consecrate St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church]] When His Holiness Pope Shenouda III was enthroned, there were only seven Coptic churches outside of Egypt: two each in Canada, the United States of America, Australia, and one in England. Due mainly to the efforts and encouragement of His Holiness, today there are more than 300 churches outside of Egypt, of which more than 100 are in the United States. There are two theological seminaries in the U.S., and a monastery in California. In addition, His Holiness was the first Pope to ordain Bishops for the Dioceses of North America. Bishop Karas was ordained for the Monastery of St. Antony's in California, Bishop Serapion for the Diocese in Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawaii, and Bishop Youssef for the Southern United States. There are 24 churches in Canada, and the city of Toronto houses a large Coptic Cultural Center. In Australia and New Zealand, there are currently 28 churches, a theological college, two secondary schools, a primary school, two monasteries and a nursing home, plus two churches in Fiji. In Europe, there are currently over 50 churches. There are six churches and a large Coptic cathedral in Great Britain, including a large Coptic Center in Birmingham and another one in Stevenage. There are churches in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. There are nine churches in Germany and a monastery in Frankfurt. There are six churches in France, four in Austria, four churches and a monastery in Italy, two in Holland, two in Switzerland, and one church each in Belgium, Denmark, Greece, and Sweden. In November 1991, the first Coptic Churches were established in South America, with a church in São Paulo, Brazil and in Argentina, and more recently churches have also been established in Bolivia and Mexico. Priests have also been ordained for churches in the Caribbean, including Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, and the West Indies.
As head of the oldest Church in Africa, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III has been very keen to extend the Apostolic mission of St. Mark across all of Africa. There are now 33 Coptic Churches among more than 12 African tribes in nine African countries, including Kenya, Zaire, [[Zimbabwe]], Namibia, and South Africa. Nairobi is also the center of the new Diocese in Kenya.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) has strong historical ties with the Coptic Orthodox Church. The two churches have been linked by very intimate relations since the early centuries of Christianity, as both are children of St. Mark the Apostle. In 1994, upon request of the EOTC, they gained Autocephaly (independence)from the Coptic Church. Both Churches still belong to the See of St. Mark and both confess one Orthodox Doctrine.
More recently, Pope Shenouda III underwent spinal surgery at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, on 22 October 2006.<sup>[]</sup> Pope Shenouda III has since then fully recovered, and celebrated the 35th anniversary of His Holiness' enthronement as Pope of Alexandria on 14 November 2006 in Egypt, among thousands of faithful who flocked to congratulate His Holiness on this occasion ([ videos]).
==SourceTheological disputes and the 2007 Coptic Church crisis==These have recently come to the attention of the mainstream secular newsmedia in Egypt (see, for example, [ this Egyptian newspaper article in English published on [[February 23]], 2007]). More recently a book entitled [ ''Orthodoxy: A Creed for Today'' (1972)] by the Very Rev. Fr. [[Anthony M. Coniaris]] has been banned by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Church presided by Pope Shenouda III on [[May 26]], 2007, as it discusses the Orthodox concept of [[theosis]], which was considered to be against Pope Shenouda's teachings.<sup>[]</sup> Wikipedia has further details about the subject.<sup>[]</sup> Some learned observers have attributed Pope Shenouda's decades-long theological disputes with different Coptic theologians (like the late Father [[Matta El-Meskeen]]) to personal and ecclesiastico-political motives, rather than to any genuine doctrinal flaws or deviations from Orthodoxy in the writings of these theologians.
* See also the 2007 conflict of the Coptic Church with the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Egypt: [[ H. H. Pope Shenouda III page22_figure]] at (including sermons, video lectutres by Pope Shenouda)
==Main sources==* [ H. H. Pope Shenouda III page] at (including sermons, video lectues by Pope Shenouda)* See also [ Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].
==Some Books by HH Pope Shenouda III (in English)==* [ Official site, ] where you can also read ''EL-KERAZA Church Magazine '' is available in English]* [ The Nature of Christ](PDF)* [ Books]* [* http://wwwSome of the Books of Shenouda III]* [* Books]
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before=[[Cyril VI (Atta) of Alexandria|Cyril VI (1959–1971)]]|title=[[Church of Alexandria (Coptic)|Pope of Alexandria (Coptic)]]|years=1971-present2012|after=[[Theodore II (Sobhi Baki Soleiman) of Alexandria]]|Theodore II}}
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[[Category:20th-21st-century bishops]]
[[Category:Non-Chalcedonian Bishops]]
[[ar:شنودة الثالث (جيد) السكندري]]

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