His Holiness the late Pope Shenouda III
Pope of Alexandria
Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark
3 August 1923 – 17 March 2012I would like to openly express my deep gratitude for the memory of His Holiness whose existence served as an example of just and ethical behaviour; he was a brave man who was once imprisoned for four years during the Anwar Sadat era of Egypt for standing by his people and refusing to abandon his values.
These beliefs extended to supporting our Patriarch Antonios, who has been unjustly under house arrest since 2006. Pope Shenouda himself had ordained Patriarch Antonios. He vocally protested his removal and refused to acknowledge the new government-appointed Patriarch. He instructed all the Coptic Church to pray for the Patriarch Antonios.
I had the good fortune of meeting His Holiness in March 2008 when he came to consecrate the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre and Coptic Orthodox Cathedral Of Saint George Stevenage U.K. I was able to thank him on behalf of the Eritrean People, and for his support of Patriarch Antonios, whom he had mentioned three times in the service, in particular. He inquired after Patriarch Antonios’s health. He told me that the Patriarch was in his prayers.
His Holiness appointed the exiled Bishop Makarios to lend support to the clergy and the laypeople who are loyal to the Patriarch Antonios.
His passing is a great loss not only to his people but to the Coptic community worldwide and to us, the Eritreans.
He will always be in our hearts and minds.
5 April 2012