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Coptic Church's Synod Recognizes Two Modern Saints

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://mideasti.blogspot.ae/ Thursday, June 20, 2013 Coptic Church s Synod Recognizes Two Modern Saints The Coptic Church s Holy Synod, consisting of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 21, 2013
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      Thursday, June 20, 2013
      Coptic Church's Synod Recognizes Two Modern Saints

      The Coptic Church's Holy Synod, consisting of the bishops, has
      recognized the sainthood of two modern figures who had already been
      widely venerated by the Coptic faithful. And no, Gamal Abdel Nasser was
      not one of them, but Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) VI, shown with Nasser in this
      1965 photo, was. The Coptic Pope from 1959 to 1971, prior to the late
      Pope Shenouda III who reigned from 1971 to last year, and the
      predecessor once removed of current Pope Tawadros II, has been widely
      acclaimed as a saintly figure among the Coptic faithful.

      His good relationship with Nasser is often cited as a marked contrast to
      Church-State relations in the Sadat and Mubarak era and the awkward
      situation since the election of President Morsi. Nasser was a key patron
      of the building of the new Coptic Cathedral in Abbasiyya (the Pope and
      the President are shown above laying the cornerstone in 1965, and below,
      with Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and Anwar Sadat at the dedication,
      1968).

      I'm a little uncertain about one thing: traditionally formal
      canonization of saints in the Coptic Church had to wait for 50 years
      after the person's death, while Pope Kyrillos died in 1971, 42 years
      ago. Perhaps they are making an exception due to the fact that he has
      long been acclaimed a saint by popular opinion.

      The other figure is less well known outside Coptic circles: a layman,
      Archdeacon Habib Girgis (1876-1951), who played several key roles in the
      renaissance of the Coptic Church in the late 19th and early 20th
      centuries. The Church had become calcified through the centuries, with
      poorly educated priests and Coptic faithful with little understanding of
      their Church, and it was losing adherents to Catholic and Protestant
      missionary efforts.

      During the half-century long papacy of Pope Cyril V (Pope 1874-1927),
      both the papacy and the Coptic laity committed themselves to modernizing
      the church. The emergence of the Maglis Milli, a Coptic layman's
      council, created friction with the clergy, but the Pope also moved to
      improve education, founding the Coptic Theological School of Alexandria.
      Habib Girgis became its first student, and years later, its second head.

      Girgis was also closely involved in the foundation of the Coptic Sunday
      School Movement, which sought to educate the faithful as the Theological
      School educated the clergy. He was one of a number of Coptic laymen who
      helped revive interest among Copts in their own tradition; I've written
      before about another figure from the Coptic revival: Claudius Labib,
      sought to bring back the Coptic language.
      <http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2013/02/claudius-labib-would-be-coptic-ben.html>



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