A previous article continued tackling the events occurred during the papacy of Pope Ghabrial II (the 70th patriarch of Alexandria). The Church of Saint George at MinyatZifta was lost and restored, a monk complained against other father monks before Caliph Al-Hafiz, who realized the fakeness of this complaint and honored the monks. After the departure of Pope Ghabrial II, Pope Mikhail III assumed papacy as the 71st patriarch of Alexandria.
It was reported that one of the holy monks from the Monastery of Saint Macarius, called “Abu al-Khairthe Psalmist”, had prophesied about the ordination of Pope Mikhail III. His biographer states: “This man “pope Mikhail” had fallen severely ill before being a patriarch, he was on the verge of death, but Abu al-Khair the Psalmist told some monks who asked him about his illness (the illness of monk Mikhail): He will not die with this illness, he will not die before becoming a patriarch.” Monk Mikhail was known to be illiterate man, knowing neither Coptic nor Arabic; Priest ManassahYohanna comments: “Although known for strong piety and asceticism, this monk was unaware of any science, and he did not know how to read or write, whether in Coptic or Arabic, yet that did not hinder his election due to being extremely fit for that critical position…”.
Once Pope Mikhail III sat onthe See of Saint Mark, God bestowed upon him a fervent mind and much wisdom, people loved him dearly and were obedient tohim, he rejoiced greatly with people attending the church praying and worshiping God, he used to pray for them. A few days after being consecrated to sit on the See of Saint Mark, he ordained five bishops, including: a bishop for the chair of Shubra El-Kheima, one for Shubra Damanhour, and a third for MinyatBaniKhosib. Pope Mikhail III was said to be a venerable old man, loving for the poor and needy, his clerk used to write sermons and teachings in order to be sent to the bishops and priests. He used to discipline and punish the haughty and any monk who committed mistakes. He assumed the See of Saint Mark for a very short period;eight months only (some say nine) and a few days, he spent the early three months in good health, but afterwards he fell severely sick, so he was taken to the Monastery of Saint Macarius where he departed peacefully. His papacy period witnessed peace. He was succeeded by Pope John V.
PopeJohn V (1146/ 1147- 1166 AD)
He is the seventy-second patriarch of Alexandria. His name formerly was Youannes bin Abi Al -Fath, one of the monks at the monastery of AnbaYehnes who were candidates for the patriarchate during the election of his predecessor, Pope Mikhail III. The ecclesiastical historian AnbaSawiris bin Al –Muqafaa said about him: “He was a saint monk. He was ordained a good deacon among the monks of the Monastery of AnbaYehnes, where he attended the ordination of the reposed Bishop Mikhail. His name was written in one of the three papers laid on the sanctuary.” He was selected to be a patriarch: so they sent a number of priests to bring him to Egypt, and when he attended, he was ordained priest, then an archpriest. However, YouannesIbnKaddran, who was panting after the patriarchal chair, repeated his serious request to have his desire fulfilled. He raised the issue to the caliph, who in turn ordered a council of bishops and those who sought patriarchate to be held. A group of bishops and priests attended that council which was joined by the elite statesmen, negotiations took place and long discussions were held, that it was said: “Important matters and negotiations took place. The attending bishops and priests said their patriarchwould be him whom they would choose, not who asks and seeks… He who desired patriarchate shall not be ordained for them.” The record of what took place was written,andthe caliph sent with them a clerk to Alexandria, where a council was held gathering the priests and chiefs of Alexandria in order to choose whom they wish to be a patriarch. So they all agreed to choose YouannesibnAbi Al-Fath, he was ordained a patriarch on the See of Saint Mark the Apostle during the days of Caliph Al-Hafiz li Din Allah and… stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center