March 22, 2012
A Message from Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate
Metropolitan of New York and All North America
With much sadness and sorrow, we have received the news of the falling asleep of His Holiness Patriarch and Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, and Patriarch of the Seat of St. Mark.
His passing on to eternal life is an enormous loss not only for the Coptic Church, but also for the Church as a whole, especially since he believed in dialogue and held relentless and unwavering positions with regard to sensitive issues.
The Egyptian news agency called him “Pope of the Arabs”. When the former Egyptian president, Mr. Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, visited Jerusalem to sign a non-Arab Egyptian peace treaty with the Hebrew nation, he asked Pope Shenouda to accompany him. However, Pope Shenouda turned down the visit to Jerusalem and issued a statement to all Copts not to go to Palestine, and especially Jerusalem, while it is under the Israeli occupation.
The Copts could never forget his sermons, which entered the hearts and kindled the spirits. He spent part of his life in the monastery of St. Pishoy, at El Natroun valley, and he requested that the monastery’s cemetery be his final resting place.
On behalf of myself, the Bishops, priests and parishioners of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, I offer my deep condolences to the Coptic Orthodox Church and her people worldwide, asking God to rest his soul, and may his memory be eternal.
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