Nov. 4 - Pope Tawadros II is named the 118th leader of the Coptic Church in a ceremony in Egypt's capital Cairo on Sunday. Travis Brecher reports.
In an extravagant ceremony in Cairo, Egypt's Coptic Church declares its new leader: Pope Tawadros II. In a ritual steeped in tradition and filled with prayer, chants and incense at Abassiya Cathedral, the names of three candidates chosen at an earlier vote are placed in a wax-sealed bowl before a blindfolded boy picks out one name. Copts believe this long-established process ensures worldly influences don't determine the successor to Pope Shenouda III, who led the Church for four decades until his death last March. Pope Tawadros II is the 118th Coptic pontiff. Formerly a bishop in the Nile Delta, he had trained as a pharmacist before joining the priesthood. The Pope will likely come under pressure to improve relations with Egypt's majority Muslim population. Many Christians, who make up about a tenth of Egypt's population of 83 million, are worried about political gains made by Islamists since former President Mubarak was ousted last year. Since then there have been several attacks on churches, reigniting longstanding complaints that Christians are sidelined both in the workplace and in law. Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, who emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, has sworn to guard the rights of Christians. On the group's Facebook page, an FJP official said he was optimistic about "fruitful cooperation" with the Copts' new leader.