CAIRO, Egypt (AP) Egypt's Coptic Church says its pope has been flown
to Cleveland for treatment after breaking his thigh in an accident.
Pope Shenouda III, 84, fell in his bedroom on Monday evening.
The official Middle East News Agency says Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak ordered his government to provide a special ambulance plane for
In 2006 the pope had spinal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and he also
is known to have back problems.
He made several trips to the U.S. last year for back surgery.
Leader of the Coptic church flown for treatment in United States after
The Associated PressPublished: June 11, 2008
CAIRO, Egypt: The leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church was flown to
Cleveland on Wednesday for treatment after breaking his thigh in an
accident, the church announced.
Pope Shenouda III, 84, fell in his bedroom on Monday evening and was
later diagnosed with a fractured thigh, according to a statement issued
by the church, saying he required surgery.
President Hosni Mubarak ordered his government to provide a special
ambulance plane to fly the patriarch to the United States, reported the
official MENA news agency.
"He has high morale and we pray to God for his cure," said Health
Minister Hatim el-Gibly at the Cairo International Airport.
A close associate said Shenouda fell as he was trying to go the
bathroom late Monday night.
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"He slipped on a carpet and fell," said Tharwat Bassily, a member of
the Coptic Council.
In 2006, the pope had spinal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and last
year he made several trips to the U.S. for further back surgery.
Shenouda has long suffered from chronic cholecystitis, or gall stones,
that can cause a high fever and severe pain, and was hospitalized in
November in Cairo.
The Coptic Church is one of the Middle East oldest churches. Like the
Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches it has no theological
links with the Roman Catholic or the Anglican churches.
Shenouda has led the church since 1971. Copts are believed to make up
about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 77 million, making them the
largest Christian community in the Middle East.
Under his leadership, the church has established congregations in the
United States, South America, New Zealand and Australia. It has more
than 100 North American congregations, up from four in 1971.