Canada's first Coptic bishop enthroned in Mississauga
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
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
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.