No, not the Pope in Rome, but the Coptic Pope Shenouda III – the only pope (thus far) to bless me.
I was fortunate to receive a blessing from the Pope when I was in Egypt a few years ago.
It was clear at that time that the Pope was a savvy politician who had figured out a way to secure a certain degree of autonomy and security for the Coptic community. It was also clear that he was greatly loved by his Coptic followers.
As I’ve been watching the changes spinning out from last year’s Arab spring, I’ve been thinking of Egypt’s Coptic community – wondering what the future holds for them, whether the Pope could navigate this changed landscapes, and how the future would unfold if this Pope was not there to guide this community. I guess now we will find out.
May God bless him and may he rest in peace. But mostly, I wish God’s blessing for the Coptic people, for all the people of Egypt, that they find the future filled with peace and prosperity.