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17732Canada's first Coptic bishop enthroned in Mississauga

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Apr 8 6:24 AM
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      http://www.mississauga.com/news/article/1601734--canada-s-first-coptic-bishop-enthroned-in-mississauga

      Canada's first Coptic bishop enthroned in Mississauga
      David Paterson
      Apr 07, 2013

      For anyone who doubted they were watching an historic occasion, a quick
      scan of the enormous crowd at Mississauga's Coptic Orthodox cathedral on
      Saturday would have persuaded them otherwise.

      Over the sea people crammed into the cathedral on Eglinton Ave. were
      held aloft smart phones, iPads, cameras — anything that could capture
      the moment when Canada's Coptic Christians saw their first ever bishop
      enthroned.

      And as spectacles go, this one was worth recording. Bishop Mina, clad in
      ornate white and red robes, was installed in his new diocese in front of
      a crowd reported to be 5,000 strong. Government ministers, MPs, city
      councillors and senior figures from other faiths were among those
      watching this display of the Coptic church at its most ceremonial.

      Amid a swirl of processions, incense and prayers, church leaders dressed
      head-to-toe in black unrolled great scrolls containing the diocese
      documents and called upon the new bishop to serve his people in the name
      of Jesus.

      As the first ever Coptic bishop in Canada, Bishop Mina has taken on a
      major task: his diocese extends from Mississauga in the east all the way
      to Vancouver in the west. The church plans to establish a second diocese
      running from Toronto to the Atlantic, but a bishop has yet to be appointed.

      The decision to appoint Bishop Mina was announced by Coptic Pope
      Tawadros II in early March and is seen as a response to the church's
      growing presence in Canada. Unofficial estimates put the number of
      Coptic Christians at 250,000 nationwide, with 50,000 in the GTA.

      The cathedral in Mississauga will become the new bishop's seat and, as
      such, a focal point for Coptic Christians across the country.

      Previously, church affairs in Canada had been managed directly from
      Egypt, the heartland of Coptic Christianity. Nashed Youssef, a
      spokesperson for the Church of the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius, the
      official title of the cathedral in Mississauga, said that the new bishop
      would be able to better oversee the church. "Now we will have much more
      focus with someone around all the time and able to talk to people about
      their issues," he said.

      During his enthronement ceremony, Bishop Mina, who is from Egypt but
      lived in Canada for a number of years in the 1970s, spoke of his love
      for the country that would now be his home once again. The also called
      on Coptic Christians to work together and with people of other faiths to
      help build a strong, successful Canada.
      dpaterson@...