Cairo: Bishop Tawadros II was on Saturday formally enthroned as the new pope of ancient Coptic Christian church at a ceremony here, bringing new hope for Egypt`s beleaguered Christian minority in the country now ruled by Islamists.
60-year-old Tawadros II was formally enthroned as the Pope in an elaborate ceremony lasting nearly four hours at Coptic cathedral here which was attended by prime minister Hisham Qandil, former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, veteran politician Amr Moussa and a host of ministers and politicians.
Tawadros II, who will lead the church which claims more than 10 million congregants, succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after leading the church for 40 years.
Christians make up about 10 per cent of Egypt`s estimated 83 million population, making them the largest single Christian community in the Middle East.
Tawadros II became Egypt`s 118th Coptic Pope early this month after a blindfolded altar boy picked his name from a crystal chalice. The three finalists who entered lottery were: Bishop Rafael, 54, Father Rafael Ava Mina, 70 and Tawadros.
A member of the Holy Synod, Tawadros was born in 1952 and studied pharmaceutical sciences at Alexandria University. He was ordained bishop in 1997.
The new Pope did not address the televised ceremony, but a brief speech was read on his behalf in which he pledged to work for the good of Egypt, with Muslims and Christians alike.
Earlier this month, Tawadros told Al Arabiya that the security situation, not the dominance of Islamists, is what prompts Egyptians - Christians and Muslims alike - to leave the country.
He also rejected article 2 in the Egyptian constitution, which states that the "principles" of Islamic Sharia law are the main source of legislation.
Sectarian attacks against Coptic Christians and churches in Egypt have increased since popular uprising last year that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak. Christian community is concerned about the rise of Islamist political forces post Mubarak.