Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria

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His Holiness
Pope Tawadros II
118th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Tawadros II of Alexandria.jpg
Pope Tawadros II
Native name Tawadros II
Ⲡⲁⲡⲁ Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲑⲉⲟ́ⲇⲱⲣⲟⲥ ⲃ̅
البابا تواضروس التانى
Church Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Archdiocese Alexandria, Libya, Nubia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, North America, Australia, Europe, South America and all Africa
See See of St. Mark
Papacy began 18 November 2012[1]
Predecessor Shenouda III
Ordination 1989[1]
Consecration 15 June 1997[2]
by Shenouda III
Personal details
Birth name Wagih Subhi Baqi Sulayman
وجيه صبحى باقى سليمان
Born (1952-11-04) 4 November 1952 (age 66)[3]
Mansoura, Kingdom of Egypt[3]
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian
Residence Coptic Orthodox Patriarchal Residence[4]
Alma mater University of Alexandria

Pope Tawadros II (Coptic: Ⲡⲁⲡⲁ Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲑⲉⲟ́ⲇⲱⲣⲟⲥ ⲃ̅ [Papa Abba Theódōrōs II]; Arabic: البابا تواضروس الثاني‎‎ [al-Bābā Tawāḍurūs al-ṯhānī, English: Pope Theodore II]) (born 4 November 1952) is the 118th and current Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, succeeding the late Pope Shenouda III as leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. He took office on 18 November 2012, two weeks after being selected.[5]

Early life

Pope Tawadros II was born Waǧīh Ṣubḥī Bāqī Sulaymān (وجيه صبحى باقى سليمان) on 4 November 1952 in the city of Mansoura in Egypt.[3] He studied at the University of Alexandria, where he received a degree in pharmacy in 1975.[6] After a few years of managing a state-owned pharmaceutical factory, he joined the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi Natrun to study theology for two years. He was ordained a priest in 1989.[1]


On 15 June 1997, he was consecrated as a general bishop by his predecessor as Pope, Shenouda III, with the Greek name of Theodoros, which translates to Tawadros in Coptic or Theodore in English. Arabic spelling: تاوضروس. He was assigned to serve in the Eparchy of Behira in the northwestern Delta.[7]

Papal selection

The papal selection process began several weeks before the 4 November selection. About 2,400 clergymen and others shortlisted three candidates: Bishop Tawadros, former aide to Metropolitan Pachomios; Bishop Raphael; and Father Raphael Ava Mina, a monk in a monastery near Alexandria and disciple of 116th Pope Cyril VI.[8]

The ceremony to choose the pope from the three consensus candidates was held at Cairo's St. Mark's Cathedral at about noon, with a marked police presence. Metropolitan Pachomios, locum tenens of the Church, put slips bearing the candidates' names in a sealed chalice which was set upon the altar, then led the Divine Liturgy. He told the congregation to "pray that God will choose the good shepherd", and a blindfolded boy took a slip — Tawadros — from the chalice.[9]

Bishop Pachomius formally announced that the sixty-year-old Bishop Tawadros was to be the 118th Pope, and would be named “Pope Tawadros the second” after Pope Tawadros the first (r. 730–742), who was consecrated 45th Coptic Patriarch and Pope during Egypt’s Umayyad Period (658–750).[10] Tawadros II said, from the monastery at Wadi Natrun, "[We] will start by organising the house from within. It is a responsibility. Most important is ... that the church, as an institution, serves the community." Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi congratulated Tawadros and called for Egyptian "unity" and "brotherly love" between Copts and Muslims.[1] Bishop Raphael, who came first in the election stage of papal selection, was appointed general secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.


Pope Tawadros II started his papacy amid multiple changes in Egypt, saying that the Orthodox Church is committed to keeping Article 2 of Egypt’s draft constitution intact, as it was in the old constitution.[11] He later supported the withdrawal of the Egyptian churches from Egypt’s Constituent Assembly despite efforts by the presidency to convince them to return.[12]

Views and issues

Pope Tawadros II has stated that the 2011 Egyptian revolution was a turning point in the Coptic Church's relations with its youth. Amongst his first tasks is the issue of Egypt's changing political landscape, given the new constitution and more independent-minded congregants who seek their demands outside the church in dealing with the state.[1]

In a short televised speech in July 2013, Pope Tawadros II supported the removal of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and institution of a transitional government dominated by the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Adly Mansour who acted as a temporary president at the time.[13]

2013 Vatican City visit

On 8 May 2013, Pope Tawadros II met with Pope Francis, bishop of Rome and supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, in Vatican City. This was the first meeting of the two recently elected church leaders and only the second gathering of popes in Italy in 1,500 years. The last visit of a Coptic pope to the Vatican occurred on 10 May 1973 when then-Pope Shenouda III met with then-Pope Paul VI where they signed an important Christological declaration with the ambition to initiate ecumenical dialogue between the two ancient churches.

On 10 May 2013, Pope Tawadros II and Pope Francis held a shared prayer followed by a reception with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and other dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Pope Tawadros II also visited the tombs of the Apostle Peter, the first bishop of Rome and pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Apostle Paul. Additionally, Pope Tawadros II visited the Coptic community in neighbouring Rome, Italy.


On February 21, 2015, Pope Tawadros II announced that 21 Copts murdered by the Islamic State in Libya would be commemorated as martyr saints on the 8th of Amshir of the Coptic calendar (February 15 of the Gregorian calendar). The commemoration falls on the feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Egypt's Copts choose new pope for uncertain times". The Associated Press. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "His Holiness Pope Tawadros II". lacopts.org. Retrieved 30 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "L'évêque Tawadros, nouveau patriarche copte d'Egypte" (in French). Le Parisien. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Link: http://www.copticpope.org. Although the site is mostly in Arabic, the Papal Residence is briefly mentioned in English at the bottom of the Home Page.
  5. "Bishop Tawadros new pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians". BBC News. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Tawadros II: The 118th pope of the Coptic Church". Egypt Independent. 4 November 2012. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Pope Tawadros II". st-takla.org. Retrieved 23 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The New Pope Will Be from These 3 Men". Egyptian Chronicles. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Bishop Tawadros new pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians". Egyptian Chronicles. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. St Shenouda Monastery: H.H. Pope Tawadros II is the 118th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, 5 November 2012
  11. Al-monitor Coptic Pope Warns of Extremism In Egypt's Constituent Assembly
  12. All Africa Egypt: Pope Tawadros Receives Presidential Staff Head
  13. "Pope Tawadros II Supports Revolution". www.ecumenicalnews.com. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Coptic Church Recognizes Martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians". 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Oriental Orthodox titles
Preceded by
Shenouda III
Coptic Pope