Lest we forget… Down to 17 candidates for the position of Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy See of Saint Mark. Ultimately though, it’ll fall to lots to decide who will get to lead the estimated 12 – 18 million adherents of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
The Church has unveiled its longlist of bishops and monks competing to succeed Pope Shenouda III later this year .
The acting head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church has released details of the 17 candidates in the running to become the next pope, according to a report on Ahram’s Arabic-language news website.
Bishop Bakhomious has been head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria since the death of Pope Shenouda III in March. The election of the next pope is due to take place in autumn.
Seven of the the candidates named by the Church are bishops and 10 are monks.
According to church rules, the list will be whittled down from 17 to 7 from which the boards of the church’s city councils will vote to pick three. The final choice will be made by a young child picking a name from a box.
Ahram lists the candidates as follows, with limited biographical details:
1. Bishop Bishoy: Secretary of the Holy Synod and the metropolitan of Damietta, Kafr El Sheikh, Babrary and the monastery of Saint Demiana
Born in 1942, Bishoy studied engineering before joining the monastic order. Ordained as a Bishop in 1972, he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan in 1990.
2. Bishop Youannes: Former secretary of the late Pope Shenouda III and responsible for social services
A former student of medicine at the University of Assiut, Youannes was ordained as a Bishop in June 1993.
3. Bishop Boutros: General Bishop and Pope Shenouda III’s personal secretary
Born in Sharqiya governorate in 1949, he has a degree in agricultural sciences and was ordained as a bishop in June 1985.
4. Bishop Tawadros: General Bishop of El Beheira
Born in 1952, he studied pharmacy at the University of Alexandria and was ordained in June 1997. Tawadros is a member of the Holy Synod.
5. Bishop Raphael: Auxiliary Bishop of Central Cairo and Heliopolis as well a former aide tolate Pope Shenouda III and member of the Holy Synod.
Born in Cairo in 1954 and a graduate from Ain Shams University’s medical faculty, Raphael was ordained as a bishop in June 1997.
6. Bishop Bavnotius: Bishop of Samallout and Taha El Aaameda
Born in Cairo in 1948 and a member of the Holy Synod, this medical graduate was ordained as a bishop in June 1976.
7. Bishop Kyrillos: Bishop of Milan
Born in 1952 in Sohag governorate and a former engineering graduate, he was ordained in June 1986 before becoming Bishop of Milan in June 1996.
8. Father Anstasy El-Samuely
A monk at the monastery of St. Samuel in Minya. Born in 1939, he has a degree in commerce.
9. Father Maximos Anthony
Born in Alexandria in 1954, he serves at the monastery of St. Anthony in the Red Sea governorate. Holding a degreee in agriculture, he also has a diploma in icon restoration from the University of Moscow as well as one in museum administration from the United States.
10. Father Raphael Ava Mina
A monk at the monastery of Mar Mina in Alexandria, he was born in 1924 in Cairo and graduated in law from the University of Ain Shams.
11. Father Begul Anba Bishoy
A monk at the monastery of St. Bishoy in Wadi Natrun, he was born in 1951 and has a degree in mechanical engineering.
12. Father Shenouda Anba Bishoy
Also serving at St. Bishoy in Wadi Natrun, Shenouda was born in 1943 in Minya and holds a degree in religious studies.
13. Father Bishoy St. Paul
A monk at the monastery of St. Paul in Egypt’s Red Sea governorate, he was born in 1964 in Mansoura. He holds a degree in agriculture from the University of Alexandria.
14. Father Sawiris St. Paul
Also at St. Paul’s, Sawiris was born in Sharqiya governorate in 1959 and has a degree in religious studies.
15. Father Bakhomious El-Sorian
A monk at the monastery of Virgin Mary in Wadi Natrun. Father Bakhomious was born in Aswan in 1963 and has a joint-degree in science and education.
16. Father Daniel El-Sorian
Also at the monastery of Virgin Mary, he was born in Qena governorate in 1962 and holds degrees in science, education and Coptic studies from the University of Lyon.
17. Father Serafeem El-Sorian
The third contender from the Virgin Mary monastery, he was born in 1959 in Cairo and has a science degree from the University of Ain Shams.