Shenouda III Dies
Shenouda's successor will come from the monastic ranks, which have expanded dramatically over the past generation as part of the general Egyptian religious revival. Here is the election procedure:
"Under the church's bylaw issued in 1957, the next pope shall be elected by bishops, former and current Coptic cabinet members and MPs, Coptic notables, and Coptic newspaper owners and editors. Once the vote is completed, a blindfolded child will choose the pope from the three candidates with the highest number of votes. Candidates must be at least 40 years old and have spent at least 15 years in monastic life."
The influence of laymen in Coptic politics dates back at least to the Middle Ages, when Christian government ministers under the sultans were often the community's conduit to political influence. I wonder, however, if the role of former government officials in today's Coptic Church could become a source of controversy, given that they will be tainted by connections with the Mubarak regime.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)