Cairo (CNN) -- Coptic Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian community for nearly four decades, died Saturday, according to the head of the Egyptian General Coptic Association. He was 88.And
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian church in the Middle East, according the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage, England.
In addition to millions of followers in Egypt, the church has adherents in Europe, Canada, the United States, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, the center says.
When a Coptic pope dies, all 150 bishops of the church's Holy Council appoint an acting patriarch until a vote is conducted for a successor, Doss said. Thousands of bishops, priests and monks are eligible to vote.
CNN doesn't mention it, but I read elsewhere that Shenouda III was the first Coptic Pope to meet the Bishop of Rome in over a thousand years and was big on Christian unity, especially in the East. I am interested in seeing what kind of fresh efforts his successor makes towards ecumenism on behalf of the Coptic Church.The most senior bishop usually takes the role of acting patriarch. In this case, that would be Bishop Michael of Asiut. If he declines, Bishop Bakhamious of Behira is next in line, Doss said.