The Straits Times
Published on Oct 29, 2012

Egypt's Coptic Christians choose new pope


CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's Coptic Christians vote on Monday for a new leader to succeed Pope Shenuda III, who died in March leaving behind a community anxious about its status under an Islamist-led government.

The death of Pope Shenuda, who headed the church for four decades, set in motion the process to elect a new patriarch to lead the community through the post-revolution era in Egypt, which is marked by increased sectarian tension.

Five candidates - two bishops and three monks - are vying to become the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa in the Holy See of St Mark the Apostle. A council of senior clergy, current and former Coptic public officials, MPs, local councillors and journalists will cast a vote for their preferred candidate. The names of the top three vote-getters will then be written on separate pieces of paper and placed in a box on the altar of St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo.

On Nov. 4, a child will be blindfolded and asked to choose one of the papers. The person chosen will be enthroned in a ceremony on November 18.