We have begun tackling sparks of the life of Saint Pope Kyrillos VI, the most notable of which is his dire love to God; as he left the world, became a monk, then a hermit in a life with God’s fullness, flowing with heavenly comforts and a ceaseless prayer witnessed by all. In his love for prayer, he was passionate of the solitary life, being himself a disciple through the literature left by Saint Isaac the Syrian which he had copied, so he was sated with its essence: “Detaching oneself from all, to get attached to the One.”
In the life of prayer, his mind was being occupied only with God and praising; it was mentioned that when he underwent a surgery of removing the appendix, he reiterated psalms and praises while still under the anesthesia!
Tending his people was one of his life sparks that many have lived with, it enlightened the way for many till this day. Although he refused to nominate himself for patriarchate, the reposed Anba Athanasius yet submitted a recommendation of his name, and when His Holiness knew about it, he asserted that his children and followers shall never create propaganda preceding the patriarchal elections. When chosen by the Divine care to succeed Saint Mark the Apostle, he could not help shedding heavy tears before God to assist him in such huge responsibility.
During his papacy, he never forgot the life of monasticism and solitude; he frequented the Monastery of Great Martyr Saint Minas in Mariot, besides his service and presence among his congregation, tending and caring for them, the Triple Beatified Pope Shenouda III comments:
“He provided us with a great example of the life of contemplation and ministry, despite having them combined is not an easy mission, he served the Church as hard as he could, and on the other side, got alone to himself and enjoy as much contemplation and solitude as his capabilities secured.”
May 10, 1959 marks the onset of the Church renaissance in modern age of the Coptic Church; the era of Saint Pope Kyrillos VI was featured as the era in which the father patriarch met with his congregation without mediators or entourage , as anyone could meet his father patriarch, directly talk to him about his needs or problems. Everyone loved him and flocked to him in thousands seeking his blessings and prayers, it was said about him: “He was the first pope in our modern age to open his door for every person; every person could sit and talk with him boundlessly. Thus, he managed -through his popularity and meeting everyone- to abolish the concept of the patriarch’s entourage, because he could hear necessary information directly from everyone, and so he directly knew the facts. Hence, he knew the detailed details of our holy Church.”
Through his fatherhood, he cleared the minds of what had been previously suffered, the outrageous acts of the entourage, including “Simony”: ordaining priests for a sum of money. Taking a step further on the way of reform, His Holiness issued orders for all monks to return to their monasteries and all obeyed him.
Leading the Coptic Church, he was accustomed to lay all her problems and needs before God, Pope Shenouda III notes: “He was of abundant prayers even during being and talking with others; thus, he was silent, talking little to have the chance for contemplation and prayer, he always entrusted his problems to God… He saw that the Masses and prayers, not the human efforts, are the solution for the problems. Whenever surrounded by distresses, he resorted to solitude, prayers and Masses, feeling that God’s aid is way greater than all human aid.” His lead was based on fasting, prayer and seeking God’s help, and so his era was of peace and blessing. Truly were said the words of the Triple Beatified Anba Mina Ava Mina: “Not only was Pope Kyrillos a bright episode in the Church history, but also he was -and still is- a great school of special church and spiritual philosophy that will last throughout several bright upcoming generations for deep spirituality and life of prayer.” And… Stories never end in beautiful Egypt!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center31 March 2021