Egypt's Copts choose new pope
(UPDATED) CAIRO, Egypt - Bishop Tawadros was chosen as new Pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians Sunday when a blindfolded altar boy picked his name from a chalice in a ceremony invoking divine guidance for the beleaguered minority.
Acting head of the church Bishop Pachomius took the ballot from the boy's hand and, showing it to those crowded into St Mark's Cathedral, announced: "Bishop Tawadros."
The crowd erupted in cheers and applause as church bells tolled in celebration across the country.
Tawadros, a 60-year-old doctor and Bishop for Beheira, was among three potential candidates chosen to replace Pope Shenuda III, who died in March.
He is to formally assume the position as spiritual head of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, which has become increasingly anxious at the Islamists' rise to power in Egypt.
The new Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa in the Holy See of St Mark the Apostle will be the 118th pope in a line dating back to the origins of Christianity and to Saint Mark, the apostle and author of one of the four Gospels, who brought the new faith to Egypt.
The pope serves as the spiritual leader of the country's Coptic Christians, who make up between six and 10 percent of Egypt's 83-million population.
Amid increased fears about the community's future after Mubarak's overthrow, the new Copt leader will be its main contact with Egypt's first Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.
The rise of Islamists after the revolution has sparked fears among Copts of further persecution at home, despite Morsi's repeated promises to be a president "for all Egyptians". - Agence France-Presse