Sunday Mar 18, 201209:46 AM GMT
Iran offers condolences to Egypt over passing of Pope Shenouda III
Egyptian Christian Copts mourn the death of Pope Shenuda III in a massive funeral ceremony, Cairo, Egypt, March 17, 2011.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:45AM
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Iran's deputy foreign minister has offered the country's condolences to Egyptian Christians over the passing of the patriarch of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III.

Pope Shenouda III passed away on Saturday following a long battle with liver and lung problems over the past several years.

Church sources said the health condition of the Coptic patriarch deteriorated Saturday morning after he suffered a severe heart attack.

The pope's medical team tried to revive him but did not succeed, and the spiritual leader died at the age of 89, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian praised the late pope’s constructive and lasting efforts to achieve peace and justice and offered condolences to the Egyptian Christians, particularly the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The Coptic Orthodox Church announced a state of mourning over the pope's passing, stating that a funeral prayer would be held on Tuesday at the papal headquarters in the Abbassiya district of Cairo.

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayib, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, said, "Egypt has lost one of its rare men at a sensitive moment when it most needs the wisest of its wise -- their expertise and their purity of minds."

"He held the question of [East] al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Palestinian problem in his [conscience]," Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayib said.

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