CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptian Coptic Christians and Muslims commemorated Tuesday the third anniversary of the death of late Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark at the Monastery of Saint Bishoy in Wadi El Natrun of Behiera governorate (Delta.)
Pope Shenouda II died at 89 on March 17, 2012 after a long illness. He was the 117th pope in the Coptic Patriarch, after assuming the position in 1971.
The commemoration ceremonies are scheduled to be chaired by Pope Tawadros II who will be accompanied by number of bishops from The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Youm7 reported.
“I came here to be blessed…I hope his successors be like him as he did not differentiate between Muslims and Christians. His shrine looks like a mosque where we pray to God,” said a Muslim women, Nafisa Ahmed Ibrahim, who was accompanied by her Christian friend, Nadia.
An anonymous priest at Monastery of Saint Bishoy told Youm7 there are members from the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and women with niqab (full face veils,) who have visited the shrine telling the priest “he (Shenouda) was not only your pope, but also ours.”
The priest added that the shrine has also been visited by foreign ambassadors, celebrities and others from the Coptic Diaspora.
On top of his tomb, there is a basket for the visitors’ wishes to be written in papers, asking for the former pope’s blessing.
Additional Reporting by Michael Faris