Terrasanta.net | January 16, 2013
(m.a.b.-m.c.) - The bishop of Minya, Egypt, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, has been elected Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church at the church's synod that has been taking place in Cairo since Monday.
Rumours had been circulating on social networks since the Jan. 15, with the news made official in the morning of Jan. 16 on the homepage of the Catholic Church in Egypt.
The election of Bishop Ibrahim Isaac contradicted observers' predictions who considered Msgr. Kyrillos William, Bishop of Assiut, and Msgr. Youssef Abou El Kheir, Bishop of Sohag, as favourites.
At 57, Sidrak is considered a young patriarch. According to some sources, his awareness of the position's weighty responsibilities initially led him to reject the position, but he later accepted it on the insistence of his fellow bishops.
Born Aug. 19, 1995, in the village of Bani Shouqayr, not far from Assiut, Msgr. Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak was ordained a priest Feb. 7, 1980. After completing his studies in Rome in 1988, he was the seminary's professor of dogmatic theology, and from 2000 was its rector. He then had a sabbatical, after which he returned to Cairo, where he was named director of religious education of Salakini and professor at the faculty of theology of the same name in Cairo. Shortly after becoming parish priest of the new cathedral in Nasr City, Cairo, he was ordained bishop of Minya, November 15, 2002.
The public proclamation of the election of the Patriarch took place January 17, on the eve of a meeting scheduled at Meadi seminary. Many priests running initiatives for the ongoing formation of the clergy will be taking part. The election of the new patriarch must be ratified by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Coptic Catholic Church has a flock of about 250,000 faithful, and is divided into six dioceses served by 175 diocesan priests, as well as forty Franciscans and other religious.
The resignation of the outgoing patriarch, Cardinal Antonio Naguib, 77, was announced Jan. 15. Elected head of the Coptic rite Catholics in 2006 - after he had also served as head of the Diocese of Minya 1977-2002 - Cardinal Naguib had been suffering from a brain hemorrhage since December 2011. Given that the seriousness of his health condition prevented him from fully discharging his responsibilities, Msgr. Kyrillos William served as the caretaker head of the Coptic Catholic Church until the election of the new patriarch. The bishop of Minya, Egypt, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, has been elected Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church at the church's synod that has been taking place in Cairo since Monday.