16 March 2014
On March 9, the Coptic Orthodox Church remembers the departure of the Great Pope (Papa, Ava) Kyrillos (Cyril) VI, the 116th Pope of Alexandria and successor of Saint Mark the Evangelist. He sat on the throne of Saint Mark for twelve years (1959-1971). Pope Kyrillos was a holy man of prayer who through full dedication to the life of prayer and fasting possessed many higher gifts which included performing wonders and miracles, the gift of knowledge, and an unusual ability to lead by example. He was undoubtedly a very spiritual man and brought the Coptic Church into a new era of spirituality. He was highly regarded by the people of Egypt from all walks of life, Christians and non-Christians alike.
Pope Kyrillos VI was born on Saturday, August 2, 1902 and was called Azer Ata. His father Ata, was a church deacon and belonged to a middle class family. After completing high school, Azer went to work for a shipping company in Alexandria. Azer was content with little food and the ground to sleep on. Then much against his family's wishes, he resigned his job with the intention of becoming a monk and entered the Monastery of El-Baramous on Wednesday, July 27, 1927. He was ordained monk on Saturday, February 25, 1928 and was named Mina after the name of Saint Mina (Menas or Mena), his patron saint. He was ordained priest on Saturday, July 18, 1931. He also attended the Helwan Theological College and was rated one of the top students.