The Coptic People and the State: The Role of Pope Shenouda in Shaping Political Engagement

By: Karen Samy

April 22, 2023

Spring 2023 Student Symposium: REWA Minors

The church’s papacy has changed its methodologies of political involvement—or lack thereof—over centuries of persecution, discrimination, colonialism, and revolutions. In this paper, I will assess the ways in which the Coptic papacy has varied in its relationship with various presidents and governments of Egypt from 1952 to the present, encompassing the papacies of Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) VI, Pope Shenouda III, and Pope Tawadros II. I focus especially on the ways that each pope chose to interact with presidents in terms of compliance and quiet conformity to the regime as contrasted with active advocacy for certain issues or for the Coptic community.


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