Egyptian Catholics inaugurate new leader

The Egyptian Catholic Church held the inauguration ceremonies for new Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac on Tuesday after the resignation of former Patriarch Antonious due to health issues.

The ceremonies started off with mass, led by Bishop Yoannes Zakaria, Archbishop of Luxor, as well as Priest Shenouda Shafik, with an attendance of almost 2,000 that included Bishop Yohanna Qalta - the Patriarchal Vicar, Bishop Kirolos William - who dealt with Patriarchate issues before the assignment of the new Pope, and Fr Rafik Greiche-the spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Egypt.

Attending the inauguration was Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy See of St Mark the Apostle, who was welcomed by the Coptic Catholic people, as well as Dr Mahmoud Azab, Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar's consultant, and several bishops.

Political figures and officials included Dr Amr Moussa, head of the congress party and former presidential candidate, and Hamdeen Sabahy, former presidential candidate.

Patriarch Isaac greeted the masses in his new Patriarchate uniform. He was presented with the pastoral sceptre and prayed for by the bishops.

At the Cathedral's gates, senior Archbishop Yoanas presented the new Pope with the key to the Cathedral.

Patriarch Isaac was born in 1955 in Assiut, Upper Egypt, and was appointed priest in 1980, then Archbishop of Minya in 2002, and was chosen on 15 January to be the sixth Patriarch for Coptic Catholics.

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