Memorial Service for His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
A memorial service for His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, hosted by the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America was held at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick, New Jersey on Sunday, March 25, 2012.
Numerous clergy from all denominations, along with political dignitaries from the United Nations and the State of New Jersey, came to pay their respect to the Coptic Church and Community on their great loss. Representing His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim and the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese for the Eastern United States were Very Rev. Fr. Shamoon Asmar, Very Rev. Fr. John Khoury, Rev. Fr. Joseph Chamoun and Rev. Fr. Eli Shabo. Representatives from our Archdiocese Executive Council were Elias Sarkar and Sami Mourad.
In a letter from His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, read by the Very Rev. Fr. Shamoon Asmar, the Archbishop noted that he regrets that he could not attend the memorial service and that he was currently on a three week visit in India. In his letter, the Archbishop mentioned that he was greatly privileged and honored to have had His Holiness as a teacher in theology during his student years at the Coptic Theological College in Anba Rwais, Cairo. The Archbishop recalled in the letter that “His Holiness always made sure I was well taken care of. Whenever I would meet him he would show extra attention and tender love towards me. His Holiness’ leadership will be dearly missed, but our faith and trust in the Lord, the High Priest of our Faith, fills us with hope that the church will always be cared for by good shepherds chosen by God’s divine love and compassion.”
As part of the memorial service, the Lord’s Prayer was sung in Syriac. Two gigantic projection screens displayed the words for all those in attendance to and follow and sing along with our Syriac Orthodox clergy and attendees.
A video biography of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III included numerous photos of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and our Patriarch, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. Both Patriarchs had mutual respect and admiration for one another and worked together for years advocating Christian unity, love and forgiveness. Their combined efforts resulted in making noteworthy advancement in work towards ecumenism and mutual understanding.
His Grace Bishop David, General Bishop and Patriarchal Exarch of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese for North America, in his concluding remarks, thanked everyone for attending the memorial service and sharing in the grief and sorrow of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Community.