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November 4, 2012, Bishop Anba Tawadros of Beheria was elected as the new Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. His Holiness Tawadros succeeds Shenouda III who passed away in March 2012.
Pope-elect Tawadros is the 118thOrthodox Coptic Patriarch, the first in the post-Mubarak era. The current ruling party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, hailed the new election and congratulated Pope Tawadros. The party expressed optimism, hoping for a "positive cooperation with the new Patriarch, considered spiritual guide of Coptic brothers in the diffusion of the values of justice, liberty and equality."
The 60 year old Coptic Orthodox Patriarch obtained a degree in pharmaceutical engineering before opting for the religious life. The Egyptian media highlighted his theological capability and his pastoral activity with young people.
The following is adapted and condensed from an article in Zenit, April 3, 2006: Catholic Copts have elected a new patriarch, Bishop Antonios Naguib of Minya. The new patriarch follows Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, 86. The new patriarch, 71, was elected by the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Coptic Church, meeting in St. Joseph's Convent of the Egyptian Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Cairo on March 20, as established by the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The Pope has given assent to the election.
Egypt's Catholic Copts number about 250,000, a small minority in a country of 74 million inhabitants, 94% of whom are Muslims and most of the rest Orthodox Copts. The Coptic Church remained apart from Rome following the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It is led today by Pope Shenouda III. The Coptic Church was founded by the martyr Mark between A.D. 40 and 60 in Alexandria.
In 1741, a Coptic bishop in Jerusalem converted to Catholicism and was named by Pope Benedict XIV apostolic vicar of the small Coptic community. In 1895, Pope Leo XIII re-established the Catholic-Coptic Patriarchate. The Catholic-Coptic Church runs 170 educational institutions, the majority of whose students are Muslims.
In 2006 His Beatitude Antonios Naguib was elected as the new patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts. The Synod of Bishops of the Coptic Catholic Church, meeting in Cairo, Egypt, from March 27 to 30, 2006 accepted - having consulted the Supreme Pontiff - the resignation from office of His Beatitude Stephanos II Ghattas, C.M., patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, and elected Bishop Antonios Naguib, emeritus of Minya of the Copts, Egypt as the new patriarch.
The Chaldean Church, whose patriarch resides in Baghdad, Iraq, takes pride in its ancient liturgy which uses the same language Jesus used.
In November, the Chaldean liturgy underwent a reform following a special synod in Rome.
ZENIT interviewed Monsignor Petrus Yousif, professor of Syro-Chaldean Patrology and Chaldean liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Catholic Institute of Paris. He is also the parish priest of France's Chaldean community.
The Chaldean rite is one of the five principal Oriental rites (Antiochian, Alexandrian, Byzantine, Armenian and Chaldean)
The Chaldean rite is used by Chaldeans, Assyrians and Malabars.
Some elements date back to the third century, as the anaphora of Addai and Mari. The rite was born in Mesopotamia in the beginning of the fourth century. It it was organized by Mar Ishoyab III in the mid seventh century.
The Mass has four biblical readings: two from the Old Testament and two from the New. The rite is sober. There is much singing. In general the Lectionary originated in Jerusalem.
The reform of the Mass was approved which in turn dates back to the beginnings and makes this venerable liturgy accessible to our time.
The text is clearer and more compact and it has, as a principle, the priest turning to the people when the people are being addressed, and when speaking to God, the cross is again gazed upon because it is Jesus who has the Father's face.
The Chaldean rite differs from the Roman Catholic rite in that some details of the Mass, such as the epiclesis, the invocation to the Holy Spirit which closes the anaphora or Eucharistic prayer, invoking the Spirit that he may sanctify the gifts of the "bread and wine." The exchange of peace is also different. In this rite, the priest is made to take the chalice in his hand and give it to the deacon, who receives it with both hands and takes it to the faithful, who exchange it in the same way. Peace comes from the altar, which is the altar of reconciliation.
The third difference is that the Our Father is recited at the beginning and at the end of the Mass, inserting in the first part the seraphic hymn of Isaiah: Thy Kingdom come, holy, holy, holy.
The role deacons and women play in the Chaldean rite is also different from the roles they play in the Mass.
For example: The deacon leads the community for proper participation in the Mass.
The role of women is to assist the priest in the baptism of adult women and in the mission of education of families: they are called "deaconesses," but there is no ordination of deaconesses as such, that is, with the "gift of the Holy Spirit," though there is a consecration in which the deaconess commits herself to the service of the Church.
Catholic Coptic Dialogue The first meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Churches took place in Cairo from Jan. 27-30, 2008. The meeting was hosted by Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Shenouda III of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark. It was presided over by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Amba Bishop of Damietta, general secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
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© Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved. This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own. Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it. This site was updated on 11/06/12 . Your comments on this site are welcome at email@example.com.