Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
March 22, 2012
For Immediate Release
Callam expresses sorrow at Orthodox leader's passing
Washington (BWA)--Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam sent condolences to members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt on the passing of their leader, Pope Shenouda III, who died on March 17, in Cairo, aged 88 years old.
In his letter, Callam described Pope Shenouda as "an outstanding Christian leader" who "never wavered in his faith when he was banished to a desert monastery by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat." He said that the leader of Egyptian Coptic Christians was "a community bridge builder par excellence" who made "an outstanding contribution to theological education among Coptic Orthodox students in Egypt." Pope Shenouda, Callam declared, "contributed significantly to the expansion of the Coptic Church in the service of his people in the diaspora, especially in North and South America and in South East Asia."
Pope Shenouda III began his papacy in November 1971. He was the 117th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Approximately 10 percent of Egyptians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, making up more than 90 percent of the number of Christians in the North African country.
"Baptists pledge their prayers on your behalf as you mourn the passing of an outstanding Christian leader," Callam wrote in his letter. "May the memory of his witness continue to be a source of inspiration for the Christian family worldwide."