Due to this week’s tragic loss of His Holiness, Pope Shenouda III, I have decided not to post a song this week out of respect for the state of mourning that Coptic Christians, and all Egyptians, are currently going through. Instead, I would like to direct you to this video of the funeral that took place this morning. After the funeral prayers were conducted at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, his body was flown by military plane to St. Bishoy’s Monastery in the Natroun Valley, which is near the fertile Nile Delta.
Pope Shenouda’s relationship with this monastery is very deep: he spent many of his years as a monk near this monastery, he frequently visited it during his time as pope, and spent years there under house arrest after a severe crackdown by former president Sadat on all religious groups.
Stay tuned for a special series on the Pope’s political decisions, and the intricate details of the process of choosing a new pope. His relationship with the state was, in my opinion, indicative of the tension between Copts, Muslims, and a distant state.
PS: as the video shows, there was an incredible amount of people there to take a final blessing from the Pope and to bid him farewell. The number of people who attended the funeral service was so much that there was barely any standing room, and it took over a half hour for the military police (officers wearing the red berets) to clear the way for the coffin to enter the Monastery.