3 dead in viewing of Shenouda
CAIRO - The Associated PressAn Egyptian church official said that three mourners have died of suffocation while paying their final respects to Egypt’s Coptic Christian spiritual leader.
Church official Anba Younnes said the three died of suffocation inside Cairo’s main Abbasiya cathedral as thousands of mourners gathered March 18 to catch a glimpse of Pope Shenouda’s embalmed corpse. The Coptic Pope, who was patriarch for four decades, died March 17. He has been embalmed and was placed in a seated position on an ornate throne for mourners to see until his burial today.
European Union leaders also paid tribute to Shenouda, stressing his commitment to national unity. “Pope Shenuda III was a respected and visionary leader of the region’s largest Christian community, who advocated tolerance, religious dialogue and harmony,” EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, described the pope as “a respected national and religious leader who has always strived for freedom of religion and belief.”