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Pope Tawadros II

18-Theodore II (Sobhi Baki Soleiman) of Alexandria:

  •  118th Coptic Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark since he took office on November 18, 2012, a fortnight after being selected.

       Pope Theodore was born Wagih Sobhi Baki Soleiman on November 4, 1952 in the region of Mansoura, Egypt.  He studied at the University of Alexandria, where he received a degree in pharmacy in 1975. He then managed a state-owned pharmaceutical factory, when he entered the monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi El-Natrun to study theology for two years.  He was ordained a priest in 1989.

        Theodoros 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 congregates who seek their demands outside the church in dealing with the state.

    The papal selection process began several weeks before the November 4, 2012 selection. About 2,400 clergymen and others shortlisted three candidates: Bishop Theodoros, Bishop Raphael, a former aide to the previous Pope, Pope Shenouda III, and Father Raphael Ava Mina, a monk in St. Mina's monastery near Alexandria, and the disciple of the 116th Pope, Pope Cyril VI.

        The process faced controversy as many congregates sought a greater say in the process. The three were considered consensus candidates as they were not involved in church disputes and were neither too conservative nor too liberal. The ceremony to choose the pope from the three consensus candidates was held at Cairo's St. Mark's Cathedral at about noon and featured a marked police presence.

        Prior to the selection, Metropolitan Pachomius of Behira, locum tenens of the Church, sealed the chalice with the names with red wax and put it upon the altar as he led Mass.  He then told the congregation: "We will pray that God will choose the good shepherd." Following a moment of silence, a blindfolded boy then picked Theodoros' name from the chalice

        The thousands of congregates in attendance then erupted in ovation, tears or prayer. In reaction Theodoros II said, from the monastery at Wadi El-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."

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