Last article tackled the encounter of Pope Kyrillos II with Caliph Al-Mustansir Billah as well as his mother and sister; he blessed their palace and kingdom, then the encounter of Pope Kyrillos II and the Commander of Armies. It mentioned that King Solmon of Nubia abandoned kingship and secluded himself from the rule of his country for the sake of devotion and asceticism, he then moved to Cairo where he spend nearly one year before his departure and burial in the Monastery of Al-Khandaq. Commenting on the period this king had spent in Egypt, Priest Youhanna Menassa states: “He (Solmon) and the patriarch exchanged visits, he was welcomed by the nobles of the sect, his presence among them throughout this period had elevated their status in the eyes of the state’s seniors and greats, particularly the Commander of Armies, who desired- upon witnessing the signs of fraternity prevailing among the Copts, the Nubians and the Ethiopians- to make a covenant with the kings of those two countries, aiming to facilitate the paths of trade as well as its extension from Egypt to these countries…”
He achieved what he had aspired for, as he resorted to the chief Copts, asking them to exert efforts to achieve what he had desired through holding conversations with these countries via the assistance of the father patriarch, he had his aim achieved, it is stated: “Thus, it was agreed to fulfill the desire of the Commander of Armies, who bestowed money on the patriarch to restore the vandalized churches and monasteries.”
Among the incidents that had occurred but left an impact that lasted until the papacy days of Pope Kyrillos II; a person named Kyrillos- Qoril in other sources- travelled to Ethiopia, falsely alleged himself as the Metropolitan delegated by Pope Christodoulos (the predecessor of Pope Kyrillos II) and he assumed power there. Being informed of this incident, Pope Kyrillos II anointed a lawful metropolitan for the Church of Ethiopia called Sawirus (Who is the nephew of Boktor, the departed Metropolitan of Nubia). Qoril, who had seized the priesthood, resisted Metropolitan Sawirus upon his arrival, but then he collected his money and fled to the Kingdom of Dahlak in Nubia, where he was arrested and got his money seized by the king there. He was sent to the Commander of Armies, who investigated the charges against him, sentencing him to prison then to death after having those charges proved.
As for the affairs in Ethiopia, they all went good, Metropolitan Sawirus sent to Pope Kyrillos II, reassuring him that corruption had been plucked out of the country, and that he had preached the king, his ministers as well as the people to give up their old habits that do not fit the spiritual life. At the end of his letter, he asked the pope to send an educational message to the king and people there, teaching them the Commandments of the Bible for their own benefit, the pope responded to his demand.
Pope Kyrillos II had anointed a number of bishops as a reaction to the vacuum left in several dioceses. He established churches like “The Church of the Saints in Alexandria” known as Al-Kamha, and restored other churches. According to the biographer of the pope, some people thought Pope Kyrillos II would be submitting to their opinion and decisions, as they saw him of little knowledge! Nonetheless, they never attained what they wished, as Pope Kyrillos II did not cease to read and study the scriptures since assuming papacy, until he became capable of perfectly interpreting them.
The country had settled in peace during the papacy of Pope Kyrillos II, that his biographer states: “Since his papacy began and till now, the blessed Nile waters have been increasing over the limit, prosperity increases and security prevails over the entire country; all its roads and wildernesses day and night.” But unfortunately, Pope Kyrillos II could not avoid internal intrigues and suffering; as some bishops submitted a complaint against him to the Commander of Armies, employing his gardener, accusing the pope with several charges! The Commander of Armies called out to Pope Kyrillos II and all the bishops, 47 bishops responded to his call and… Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
11 August 2021