FACTBOX - Egypt's Copts install new pope

Sunday, November 18, 2012 2:18 PM 
Copts in Egypt - Mohamed Abdel Ghani/Reuters

Nov 18 (Reuters) - The Coptic Orthodox church staged a ceremony rich in ritual on Sunday to install its pope, Tawadros II, who Christians hope will guide them through the new, Islamist-led Egypt.

Here is a look at the church.

* Christians have long complained of discrimination in Egypt and say their concerns have heightened since the country's new Islamist-dominated leadership came to power following the fall of Hosni Mubarak. They say churches have been attacked and authorities are not doing enough to protect them. Members say Muslims are favoured in the workplace and the legal system, citing rules that make it easier to build a mosque than a church.

* The Coptic Church pre-dates the arrival of Islam in Egypt and was widespread in the country before the Arab conquest in the 7th century.

* Copts now make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 83 million population. They are divided into a majority Coptic Orthodox Church and a Coptic Catholic Church in union with the Vatican which has about 250,000 members.

* Tawadros II was one of three men placed on a shorlist of candidates after a ballot of about 2,400 Church and community officials. His name was then picked from a container by a blindfolded child during a ceremony on Nov. 4. Copts say the process ensures the final selection of the leader of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East is not guided by worldly concerns.

* Arabic and Coptic are used in Coptic services. Tawadros II's predecessor as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church was Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria. The Catholic Coptic leader is Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria.

* Egypt also had other small groups of Christians affiliated to churches abroad.

Sources: Reuters/www.copticchurch.net/www.britannica.com (Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit) (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

This content is from : Reuters
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