Greeting the Pope in Alexandria
On the 23rd of November 1971, as in 9 days after his coronation ceremony, Pope Shenouda visited St. Marks the apostle’s chair. During his journey in Alexandria, the pope passed by many villages where thousands of people awaited his presence to greet him. Large celebration took place particularly in Tanta and Damanhour; many people greeted his holiness with flowers and begged for his blessing whilst others followed him on his way with their cars causing large crowds similarly to that of presidential convoys.
More than fifty thousand Copts awaited the Pope’s arrival outside the patriarchy headquarters, where they chanted in happiness for their love for him and in return the Pope blessed them more than once.
His holiness commenced prayer in the churches of Alexandria, gave many teachings and sermons as well as met with members of the church’s committees, associations and Sunday school teachers.
Pope Shenoudagreeted Alexandria’s mayor whom said “ I am entirely responsible for Alexandria’s Copts”
He also received many delegations from diplomatic men, educators, ambassadors, priests and representatives of the Christian denominations.
On Friday the 26th of November 1971, his holiness went to the monastery of Saint Mina, which was his first monastery to visit prior his ordination where hundreds of Copts awaited his company.
The Evangelist Magazine
Pope Shenouda issued the Evangelist magazine, which is considered to be the official speaker of the Church as well as the spiritual, theological and liturgical ect… it also contains a special section for children, sciences and many other news. In January 1965, which is 1681 in the Coptic calendar, the first issue of the magazine was released under its editor and chief Pope Shenouda, the bishop of education. The eighty-paged magazine’s subscription cost 40p in Egypt and 80p abroad; it maintained the same till its fourth year.
In 5/10/1974 the magazine became a weeklyone in a fixed form and price of 20 pennies until its 29th edition on its tenth year. But on the 27/7/1979 on the tenth year of the magazine’s 30th edition the price had risen to 50 pennies. Unfortunately the magazine was forced to shut down on Friday the 4th of September 1981 on its 12th year of its 36th edition due to Sadat’s illegal decisions of the Pope’s convent house arrest within the monastery.
In 1988 the magazine was revived after the Pope’s return to his rightful place. The magazine started of again with the price of 25p until its second edition of its 18th year on 12/1/1990. Thereon after, every two editions were sold as one with the price of 35p. In 21/6/1991 the prices had risen yet again for the 21st and 22nd editions to the price of 40p. The price reached 50 in 6/1/1995 on the first and second editions of the twenty third year. In May of the same year the magazine established an English version that was sold all over the foreign nations and reach by many Coptic children particularly in America.
Pope Shenouda’s job was to educate and teach particularly in Sunday school and the Clerical College. Because the Sunday school was one of his specialties and interests, he united all teaching curriculums for all year groups, issued teacher guidance books as well as arranged a monthly gathering with the service trustees and teachers in the churches of Cairo and Giza to help them with any problem they might face along with their solutions. In the summer however, he prepared a weekly meeting for thousands of servants to discuss the bible’s teachings, spiritual and ritual themes, answers to any one’s questions as wells as issue a guidance book.
His Holliness showed great care and support to the villages whom had no servants or services for Sunday school, preaching and spiritual guidance. He also never forgot the Lords siblings, the poor and in-need, the family that lost a member and many others.
The collage Family
Pope Shenouda showed great support to the college families and all the problem they faced due to the interactions between males and females right after they had completed high school in single-sex schools.
In 1974, Pope Shenouda the third founded “The C
optic aid center” which consisted of numerous audio and visual animated films (Video tapes) fixed movies (The Magical Lantern),audio recordings, photographs, illustrated clear maps, curricular education for all year groups as well as the Pope’s educational and influential poems.
Pope Shenouda III had written multiple spiritual poems that portrayed aspects of the Christian’s spirituality that were later tuned by the Copts and transferred into lovely songs, one even became one of the most famous song loved by all for close to 25 years.
The pope’s first visit to Alexandria
Alexandria is the headquarters of the original chair of St. Mark the messenger of God to Egypt, but the Arab Muslim rulers insisted on the presence of a Coptic Pope within the newly established cities such as the Fustat Empire, military leadership in Cairo and Bablylon that held the majority of the Christian population at the time. All of these small established cities were joined together and named Cairo. With the current circumstances, the Pope was obligated to visit Alexandria occasionally for the church’s customs and traditions.
Pope Shenouda and the unity of the churches
His holiness Pope Shenouda took great care in the other churches and Christian denominations, he tried to find common ground and a basic understanding that copes with all the Christian faith to solve any theological and doctrinal problems faced to create the unity that was present in the first church. He was always keen on meeting with the bishops, patriarchs and heads of the churches who visited Cairo either for touristic or religious purposes.
The Pope’s visit to Rome
In May 1973, pope Shenouda became the first Coptic patriarch to visit Rome since the fifth century.
The pope’s visit to Pope Demetrius, the Patriarch ofConstantinople
- In 1972, pope Shenouda visited Pope Demetrious of Constantinople.
- In 1987 Pope Shenouda greeted Pope Demetrious of Constantinople in Egypt.
- In 27/4/1993 Pope Shenouda greeted his holiness Pope Barthelme, Pope of Constantinople.
- In 1988 Pope Shenouda travelled to Russia to attend Russia’s millennium celebrations
- In 30/9/1991 Pope Shenouda greeted Russia’s patriarch in St. Bishoy’s Monastery in the Natrun Valley. This was Russian patriarch’s visit to Egypt.
Pope Shenouda’s visit to the Patriarch of Russia
Pope sends delegations of the Coptic Church to participate in global conferences and theological discussions
Pope Shenouda sent delegations of the Coptic Church to participate in the following theological and ecumenical conferences:
**** In 16/1/1989 commenced the ecumenical debate between the Coptic Orthodox Church , led by Pope Shenouda III and the Evangelical Church, led by Priest Samuel Habibhead of the Evangelical denomination in Egypt. The meeting was held at St. Rouess’s Monastery for four hours followed by a lunch meal on the Pope’s communal table. Many opinions were between the two denominations were debated until the decision to reach a solution on a similar ground. **** The second meeting was held on the 27/6/1989.
**** The third meeting was held on 12/2/1990 in St. Rouess’s monastery..Unfortunately Pope Shenouda was forced to stop the meeting between both churches after a series of books attacking the Coptic Orthodox Church were released by the head of the Evangelical church’s son RafikHabib.
****The first theological conversation between the Coptic Church and the Evangelical Church was held in London followed by a second one hosted by Pope Shenouda in St. Beshoi’s Monastery in the Natrun Valley between the 12th to the 18th of March 1990. It was attended by the Evangelical church’s representatives; Archbishop of Canterbuy, the Bishop of Canada and the Bishop of Egypt along with many other representatives of churches not joint in the meetings.
A conversation between the Coptic church and the Byzantium Orthodox Church
****Many dialogues were risen between both churches in the presence of Pope Shenouda III between the 20th and the 25th of July 1989 at the Pontifical headquarters of ST. Beshoi’s Monastery in the Natrun Valley. There a historical dispute of over 1500 years was put to rest after the agreement of Jesus Christ’s nature.
**** In September 1990 the agreement was confirmed and the former Orthodox Churches were invited to Chambesy Switzerland to raise mutual agreements.
****In December 1994 a divergent meeting was held which discussed the Liturgical issues to unify and bring closer the Christian denominations, without changing the Christian heritage.
The discussion between the Coptic Church and the Catholic Church
After Pope Shenouda’s visit to Rome in 1973 where he met the Vatican Pope Paul VI, comities have been formed between both churches to peruse a unity in views and discussed topics particularly in Jesus Christ’s nature; By 1988, all meetings were held in St. Beshoy’s monastery in the Natrun valley.
The discussion between the Coptic Church and the rest of the Churches
Many discussions were held between the worldwide church council, many of which have participated such as the Coptic Church, the church of Sweden, and many others.
Thereafter, our church became one of the key founders of the worldwide church council as well as the Middle Eastern churches and that of Africa.
The Coptic Church and the Eritrean Church
It so happened that Eritrea became an independent state from Ethiopia.In 1/7/1993 a group of Eritrean delegates let by the Country’s president, other highly regarded religious men and the ambassador made their way to St. Rouess’s Monastery to meet Pope Shenouda. There the Eritrean president IsaiasAfortytold his holiness “ Eritrea is now an independent country, and it wants its own church independent from Ethiopia and that the Coptic Church had ushered Eritrea before Ethiopia.”
He continued by saying, “The Eritrean Church believes that its founder was St. Athanasius who sent St. Avromentios (The saint of safety) to preach and help them reach their homeland I Ethiopia.” It was agreed between the Eritrean president and the Pope upon the arrival of delegates from Eretria to the Egyptian church to fatherly understand and study the matter. In 19/7/1993 the delegates met with the Pope to discuss the chair of St. Mark the apostle and how they also wished to follow the same steps as the Coptic Church.
Since they didn’t have a sacred council that ordained bishops to patriarchs, Pope Shenouda invited all Synods of the Coptic Church to a special meeting to discuss the matter. In 1994 a new sacred council for Eritrea was formed during the Pentecost festival