Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#Funeral:Pope Shenouda III Funeral in Cairo

Thousands of Egyptian Orthodox Christians are standing outside the St.Marks Cathedral. The traffic is blocked there. The Cathedral  gates have been closed , some are saying that it was closed because after the Cathedral was full and that you did not need to have invitation to have access in , in fact many of those who had invitations were not let in after the gates were closed.
Other people are saying that the military police have closed the gate because of the VIPs inside. From what I see on TV there is no place inside or outside for anybody. There have been several stampedes so far outside.  The mourners outside the church banged on the gates and even some tried to sneak in.
By friend Bel Trew
The funeral has started earlier than 11 AM CLT with the prayers from both the delegation of Ethiopian Church and Syrian Orthodox Church. The Ethiopian church's prayers delegation was headed by Patriarch Paulos while the Syrian Orthodox Church delegation prayer was head by Mar Ignatious Zakka I.
The funeral rites of the Coptic Orthodox Church started shortly after the two delegations’ prayers. The funeral rites’ prayers are led by Interim Pope Pakhomious of Behaira and Pentapolis.
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is seated in the first row in the Church , I see Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser , the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

@11:05 AM

The prayers of the funeral rites are being read in Coptic language , some of the hymns are read in Greek. Some parts were shortly read in Arabic.
There are screens installed outside the Cathedral for the crowd standing outside it. Among those standing outside actress Elham Shahin “Muslim”
Among the attendees inside the church I spotted so far Potential Presidential Abdel Moneim Abu El Fatouh, Ahmed Shafik and Hisham Bastawisi , Al Wafd party lead Siyad Badawy and secretary general Fouad Badrawy are there.
Potential presidential candidate Abu El Fatouh

Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy of SCAF has arrived is seated besides other army officers and generals.
You can watch the funeral online here.
There are Muslim Sheikhs from Al Azhar as far as we can see on TV. There are representatives from Catholic Church and Anglican Church. Famous Islamic preacher Amr Khalid is there.

Click for live updates blow after the break

Egypt’s most famous Coptic Orthodox Church deacon Ibrahim Ayad is leading the hymns along with his famous chorus. They read “Ethve TiAnastasi”and “Fai Etaf Enf” in Coptic , from what I understood these hymns are usually sung during holy week aka pascha.

@11:22 AM

Ibrahim Ayad is leading doxologies in Coptic language then in Arabic language.

@11:38 AM

The commander of military police Hamdy Badeen has entered the Cathedral.
Here is a video report from 25TVshowing the Cathedral earlier today.
25TV : In front of the Cathedral
The admin of the official FB page is mourning the Egyptian Saint poet and officer. “Pope Shenouda III was as officer in the Egyptian army in year 1947.”
Potential Presidential Candidate Khaled Ali has arrived to the cathedral.

@11:54 AM

The Speaker of People assembly’s Saad El Katanani is attending the funeral and is seated besides MP Marianne Malek and minister of tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.Actor Hany Ramzy and his brother Christian activist Amir Ramzy are there.
Saad El Katanani
Ibrahim Ayad and the rest of the deacons are bursting in to tears , according to Christian friends Ayad was raised by the late Pope.
Here are couple photos from inside the Church.
Pope Shenouda III in the casket
A bishop has read the will of Pope Shenouda III he had written before his death to the Christians praying that God would gift them a good Pope and asking them to leave evil.
ONTV : Pope Shenouda III’s will

Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is attending the funeral

@12: 24 PM

The Casket of Pope Shenouda III  has been closed after a number of priests , monks and bishops were let to kiss the casket when it is opened.
Naguib Sawiris is bursting in tears so the rest of the Christians.
The casket is moving and the people are shouting “We love you pope”. They are throwing flowers

@12:30 PM

They are moving the casket while people are trying to reach to it either to touch it to get a bless or to carry.
They are heading to the military plane
Bishop Pishoy is thanking the guests , he is mentioning who came including field Marshal Tantawy and General Anan “they visited the church from two days ago” despite they are among the guests.
He thanked Hamdeen Sabhi , Amr Moussa , Abdel Moneim Abu El Fatouh and Ahmed Shafik

@12:58 PM

Supposedly the casket has left the cathedral but I do not understand or know if it is going to be transferred by an ambulance or a military plane , but I think it will be transferred by air as planned.
Tahrir TV : Casket leaving Church
The casket leaving the cathedral
I do not know why people outside the cathedral are running in the other way , some say that many of them are heading to Wadi El Natroun.They are chanting “Oh God”
Hundreds of mourners are already there waiting for the burial and the casket.

@1:05 PM

The casket will be transported to Wadi Natroun by a military plane through Al Maza airport. There are mourners waiting already outside the airport.

@2:47 PM CLT

Thousands of mourners are at the Wadi Natroun’s Saint Pishoy Monastery already waiting for the military plane.
25TV : Thousands head to Wadi El Natroun’s Saint Pishoy Monastery
Presidential Candidate Hamdeen Sabhi and ambassador of Palestine have arrived to Wadi Natroun.
Military police as well Church's scouts are security monastery.
Military police at the monastery by Naly

@3:57 PM CLT

The bells are ringing in the monastery though , I do not know if the casket has arrived or not. Still there is nothing on TV !!

@4:12 PM CLT

According to some sources the casket has arrived already and the military plane landed few kilometers away from the monastery , I do not know why the burial is too slow.

@6:00 PM CLT

After hours of waiting the casket has arrived in ambulance and we were going to see a stampede in making with that huge number of mourners trying to get  access to the casket inside the ambulance. The military police and church’s alter boys and scouts are trying to prevent the crowd from touching the ambulance and to make a room for its backdoor so it would be opened and the casket would be transferred inside the monastery.

@6:12 PM CLT

The pope is transferred to the burial chamber inside the monastery , there are hundreds if not thousands inside the monastery trying to touch the casket carried by priests , monks as well military police in order to get a blessing.

@6:25 PM CLT

The Pope is laid in his final resting place and the tombstone was put , now mourners kiss the tomb and put flowers.
The funeral is over


  1. I love you baba shenouda. Remember your children before the throne of our lord Jesus Christ

  2. Coptic and Orthodox ceremonies can be lengthy. I found them placing his body seated on his throne a bit morbid.

  3. Z,

    Thank you for a great job. Citizen journalism is not only about activism, expressing political view points and believes, but also about fresh and honest reporting. Today, in a different time zone and thousands of miles away, you in twitter and here, were my real-time source to follow this historic event. I think you know your great potential. Take care.


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