ok im done
Thousands of grieving Coptic Christians packed St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday to pay final respects to Pope Shenouda III, his body on a wooden throne who sought to soothe sectarian tension in his four decades atop Egypt’s Orthodox Church but saw increasing flareups in the majority Muslim nation in the last months of his life.
Shenouda died on Saturday aged 88 after a long illness, setting in motion the process to elect a new patriarch for the Middle East’s largest Christian community.
He led the Copts, estimated at 10 percent of Egypt’s population of more than 80 million, for a whole generation, during which the country was hit by a wave of Islamist militancy from which he sought to protect his people.
Tens of thousands of mourners converged on the cathedral, forming a queue that stretched for more than a kilometer (nearly a mile), as military police jeeps and armored personnel carriers lined the road outside.
Shenouda’s body, dressed in formal robes with a golden crown on his head and a gold-knobbed staff cradled on his shoulder, was placed upright on the tall ornate papal throne where it will remain sitting in state until the funeral on Tuesday.
A bishop knelt to one side pressing his head to the throne, as thousands of worshippers in black hoping for a final blessing from their spiritual leader took pictures of Shenouda on their mobile phones, amid tears and wails of grief.