Talking has begun about Saint Pope Kyrillos VI (The one hundred sixteenth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark), whose departure was celebrated yesterday on 9th of March. The life of Saint Pope Kyrillos VI flooded with events: He worked in Cook Shipping Navigation Company, then he became Monk Mina Al-Baramousi at the Monastery of Saint Virgin Mary at Wadi Al-Natroun, known as Al-Baramous. He fled from the bishopric rank to the Monastery of Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite. After returning to his monastery, he confined himself in a cave in the desert, he then moved to a windmill in the desert of Old Cairo. Meanwhile, he was assigned the presidency of the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor at Qalamun Mount, he used to frequent the monastery and Old Cairo, until he was, unknowingly, recommended for the patriarchate! He was not looking forward to stand as a candidate, yet His Grace Bishop Athanasius, the Metropolitan of Beni Suef and the acting head of the Church at that time recommended him one day before the candidacy closed! A phone call was placed between them:
- His Grace Bishop Athanasius: Why did not you nominate yourself for candidacy, Father Mina?
- Father Mina: Your Grace, may God keep your life! May God select a good shepherd to tend His people righteously and pure heartedly.
- His Grace Bishop Athanasius: You should not have missed this duty.
- Father Mina: Who am I -the tiny worm- to look forward to this severe mission, and to bear such great trust that is granted to whom God selects, not to who wants or desires?!
- His Grace Bishop Athanasius: However, I am still waiting for your answer! Why did not you nominate yourself and leave God to manage the affairs?
- Father Mina: Your Grace, my father monks are so many, they have presented their nominations, and they are all worthy of that serious post.
- His Grace Bishop Athanasius: Father Mina, I have nominated your name just in time.
- Father Mina: May God keep your life, Your Grace! How can a tiny be among the titans?!
- His Grace Bishop Athanasius: God raises the poor from the ash heap, to set him among princes.
- Father Mina: May God keep your life, Your Grace, and let God be in control.
After counting all the recommendations submitted, the recommendations of five fathers were accepted: “Archpriest Demian al-Muharraqi”, “Archpriest Timothaues al-Muharraqi”, “Archpriest Angelos al-Muharraqi”, “Archpriest Mina al-Antoni” and “Archpriest Mina al-Baramosi the Hermit.” The elections results came up with three of them winning: “Archpriest Demian al-Muharraqi”, “Archpriest Angelos al-Muharraqi,” and “Archpriest Mina al-Baramosi the Hermit.” On April 19, 1959, after prayers were held, the divine providence chose “Archpriest Mina the Hermit” to become the shepherd of shepherds, so he was ordained patriarch on the tenth of May 1959. As for the choice of his patriarchal name, it has a story: Archpriest Mina the Hermit loved the name “Mina” very much, that when the divine providence chose him in the Altar Ballot, everyone thought that he would keep the name Mina, but when asked about his wish concerning keeping the name “Mina”, he replied, “No. Kyrillos”. When asked about the secret of changing the name despite his intense love for the name “Mina”, he said that after the ballot he dreamt of Pope Kyrillos V, caressing a child carried on his hands, then Pope Kyrillos V presented the child to Archpriest Mina the Hermit, telling him: “Do not be afraid, Father Mina, grace will be with you, caressing you just as I do with this child.” Thus, Archpriest Mina the Hermit chose the name “Kyrillos” and thus, he became “Pope Kyrillos VI.”
However, the life of loneliness and being isolated from the world had always been a longing sought by Saint Pope Kyrillos VI. Archpriest Raphael Ava Mina, the private deacon of His Holiness mentions that after the end of the Mass celebrating the inauguration of the Cathedral, and on their way to the Great Cathedral of Saint Mark, Pope Kyrillos told him: “You see, son, all the sweet blessings, the international contributions, and the presence of President Abdel Nasser himself!” Deacon Raphael answered: “May our Lord bless Your Holiness, and may we see many sweet blessings during your papacy.” Pope Kyrillos answered: “Trust me, son, all this is not worthy of a single day at the mill!”… And… Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
10 March 2021