Who is His Holiness Pope Shenouda?


Is he a Pope like John Paul 2?



He’s the head of the Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Church, whose members call him “pope” – which means “Father.”

This is not to be confused with the Coptic ***Catholic ***Church, which is under the leadership of Pope John Paul II.


FYI The Coptic church in communion with Rome is led by Patriarch Stephanos II Ghattas of Alexandria.

There seem to be cordial relations between the Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Catholics, both at home (in Egypt) and abroad, they face very similar circumstances and challenges to overcome. They are not averse to serving each others faithful, albeit informally.

It is my understanding that the Copts have a more centralized church authority than is common among eastern churches. But the reason the patriarch is called a Pope is that it is an ancient title they have always used for him, and it once was used as a way of addressing bishops and even priests in the ancient church, it merely is an affectionate way of saying father.

The term pope or papa originated as a term of endearment for bishops and sometimes even priests. It is a form of the word father. To this day, the eastern Orthodox sometimes give their bishops the title pope. In 1073, Pope Gregory restricted the use of the term in the western Church to the bishops of Rome and their successors in office.


Hello VeryConfused:

I just want to add a bit to what Hesychios and Katholikos have said.

We Catholics might be more likely to refer to Pope Shenouda as the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria. The word “Copt” is ultimately derived from the Greek or Arab word for “Egyptian”. There are two other Patriarchs of Alexandria, one the Greek Orthodox or Byzantine Patriarch, and the other the Catholic Patriarch, just as the others have told you.

The separate line of Coptic Patriarchs began immediately after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when the Egyptian Patriarch Dioscurus was deposed for heresy (Monophysism) and for daring to judge the Bishop of Rome. This deposition caused such a stir among the nationalistic Egyptians that virtually all of Egypt went into schism from both Constantinople and Rome, a schism that lasts to this day. The Egyptian patriarch had been notable in the ancient Church in that he was the only patriarch that consecrated all his suffragan bishops and exercised close control over his whole patriarchate, and also in that he was in practice the ethnarch of Egypt (virtually a king) and headed a very wealthy see.

After the schism the imperial government had great difficulty pacifying Egypt and installing another patriarch loyal to Chalcedon. In time this much reduced Catholic/Orthodox patriarchate became Byzantine, no longer Alexandrian in rite, and thus is the ancestor of today’s Greek Orthodox patriarchate of Alexandria, which of course followed Constantinople into schism from Rome later on in the 13-14th centuries.

Then about 640 the Moslem conquest occurred, and in the ensuing centuries the numbers of Christians gradually shrank. I think that all Christians in Egypt today do not reach 10% of the population, and the majority of these are Copts. The small Catholic patriarchate began in modern times, I think in the 18th century, and I believe it is of the Alexandrian rite, but maybe someone else here can give you a history on it.

Oh, yes, Pope Shenouda’s Coptic Church is commonly called an “Oriental Orthodox” and a “non-Chalcedonian” church, as opposed to the “Eastern Orthodox” who (along with us Catholics also) are “Chalcedonians”. The Copts are in communion only with the Ethiopian Church, the Syrian Jacobites, the Armenian Apostolic Church , and a church in south India. None of these churches is in communion with either Constantinople (the Eastern Orthodox) or Rome (the Catholic Church). These churches used to often be referred to as “Monophysite” churches, but this name is no longer used. There is another Oriental Orthodox church, viz., the Assyrian Church of the East, which was formed in Iraq and went into schism even before Egypt did, and which, I believe, is not in communion with the Copts or any of the churches I have mentioned above.

I hope this will be useful for you.



And don’t forget about Pope Michael


[quote=mean_owen]And don’t forget about Pope Michael

That guy sounds like a REAL wacko…he was kicked out of seminary school and has written against the church!!! :eek:

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