Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria

This article uses dates and years written in the Coptic calendar, using the A.M. (Anno Martyrum) calendar era, in addition to the Gregorian calendar, using the A.D. (Anno Domini) calendar era.

Cyril VI of Alexandria
Cyril VI of Alexandria.jpg
Coptic Icon of Pope Cyril VI
Pope of Alexandria
Born(1902-08-02)August 2, 1902
Damanhour, Egypt
DiedMarch 9, 1971(1971-03-09) (aged 68)
Cairo, Egypt
Venerated inCoptic Christianity
Ethiopian Christianity
Canonized20 June 2013 (Gregorian)
13 Paoni 1729 Anno Martyrum (Coptic), Cairo, Egypt by Pope Tawadros II
Major shrineSaint. Mina Monastery, Alexandria, Egypt
Feast30 Meshir (Coptic)
9 March (Gregorian)
Pope Saint

Cyril (Kyrillos) VI
Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria.jpg
Papacy began2 Pashons 1675
(10 May 1959)
Papacy ended30 Meshir 1687
(9 March 1971)
PredecessorJoseph II
SuccessorShenouda III
Personal details
Birth nameAzer Youssef Atta
Born26 Epip 1618
((1902-08-02)August 2, 1902)
Damanhour, Egypt
Died30 Meshir 1687
March 9, 1971(1971-03-09) (aged 68)
Cairo, Egypt
BuriedMonastery of Saint Mina, Alexandria, Egypt
DenominationCoptic Orthodox Christian
Residence1959-1968 Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Azbakeya) 1968-1971 Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo
Feast day30 Meshir
(Julian: 24 February)
(Gregorian: 9 March)
Canonized13 Paoni 1729 Anno Martyrum
(Julian: 7 June)
(Gregorian: 20 June 2013)
Papal styles of
Pope Cyril VI
Coptic cross.svg
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious stylePope (disambiguation) and Patriarch
Posthumous styleSaint

Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria also called Abba Kyrillos VI, Coptic: Ⲡⲁⲡⲁ Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲗⲗⲟⲩ ⲋ̅  ; born (2 August 1902 – 9 March 1971; 26 Epip 1618 –30 Meshir 1687), 116th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark from 10 May 1959 (2 Pashons 1675) to his death on 9 March 1971 (30 Meshir 1687).

Early lifeEdit

Pope Cyril VI was born Azer Youssef Atta in Damanhour, Egypt, into a Coptic Orthodox middle-class family, the son of a deacon. He resigned from a civil service position to become a monk in July 1927 (Paoni–Epip 1643). He passed his probationary period and, on 24 February 1928 (21 Meshir 1644), took his monastic vows at the Paromeos Monastery, assuming the name of Father Mina el-Baramosy (Father Mina of the Paromeos Monastery). He was also known as Father Mina the Elder.

After helping to resolve a conflict between the abbot of El Baramous monastery and some of its elder monks, he requested from Pope John XIX of Alexandria to live in one of the windmills built in Old Cairo during the reign of Muhammad Ali of Egypt. He spent the start of his time in the windmill with no doors or a roof out of love for solitude. He was then pressured by the priests and an "Archon" (lay-leader) of a nearby church to renovate the windmill in order to be a more suitable environment to live. The ground floor served as a place for Fr Mina to live and the upper level he placed a sanctuary with an altar to pray daily liturgies in. He stayed in the windmill for some time before his relocation to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor. After his death, a church was built around the windmill.

In 1944 he was nominated to become the abbot of the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor and played a vital role in building a centre for the monastery in El Zawra, renovating the ancient churches of the monastery and building new monk cells.

In 1947 (1663-1664), Father Mina built the Church of Saint Mina in Cairo. He also used to pray in the Church of the Holy Virgin in Babylon El-Darag before assuming the papacy.[1]

Coptic PopeEdit

Pope Cyril VI with President Gamal Abdel Nasser, May 1967

Father Mina became Pope of Alexandria on 10 May 1959 (2 Pashons 1675). In accordance with the old Coptic church tradition, Pope Cyril VI was the only monk in the 20th century A.D./17th century A.M. to be chosen for papacy without having been a bishop /Metropolitan first. Before him, there were three bishops / Metropolitans who became Popes of Alexandria: Pope John XIX (1928–1942), Pope Macarius III (1942–1944) and Pope Joseph II (1946-1956). After him, Pope Shenouda III was also a bishop before becoming Pope.[2]

During his enthronement ceremony, he addressed the people of the Coptic Church with the following words:

But as for you, I hope to open my heart to you, that you might perceive the deep love for all therein; this is the love that emanates from the heart of our Saviour who loved us and redeemed us with His Blood. And so, I beseech all of you to persist in raising prayers for the safety of the Church and for my weakness, and for all the labouring servants.[3]

In June 1968 (Pashons–Paoni 1684), Pope Cyril received the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist and Apostle, which had been taken from Alexandria to Venice over eleven centuries earlier. The relics were interred beneath the newly completed Cathedral of Saint Mark in Cairo, which was built under Pope Cyril and was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by President Nasser, Emperor Haile Selassie, and delegates from most other churches.

Cyril's papacy also marked the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt (starting on 2 April 1968/24 [Paremhat 1684]).[4][5]

The Seat of Pope Cyril VI was initially located in Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Azbakeya, Cairo. However, during his papacy, he built the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasseya, also in Cairo, which then became the Seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope.

Pope Cyril died on 9 March 1971 (30 Meshir 1687), after a short illness. His funeral was held in the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasseya. He was buried in a temporary tomb under the altar of the cathedral. His body was then relocated according to his will to the Monastery of Saint Mina in Mariut by Pope Shenouda III in November 1971. Pope Shenouda III spoke about his predecessor: "There is no man in all the history of the church like Pope Cyril VI, who was able to pray so many liturgies. He prayed more than 12,000 liturgies. This matter never happened before in the history of the Popes of Alexandria or the world, or even among the monks. He was wondrous in his prayers."[citation needed] On 20 June 2013 (13 Paoni 1729), 42 years after his death, he was canonised as a saint by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.[6]

Inter-Church RelationsEdit

Pope Cyril VI elevated the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to the title of Patriarch-Catholicos. Abuna Basilios, who was the first Ethiopian to be appointed Archbishop of Ethiopia by Pope Joseph II, became Ethiopia's first Patriarch. Pope Cyril VI was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Star of Solomon by Emperor Haile Selassie in gratitude. In November 1959 he laid the foundation stone of the new Monastery of Saint Mina in the Desert of Mariout.

In January 1965 (Koiak–Tobi 1681), Pope Cyril VI presided over the Committee of Oriental Orthodox Churches in Addis Ababa, the first non-Chalcedonian ecumenical synod of these churches held in modern times.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ St Mary Mons Archived 24 March 2002 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ History of the Coptic Church, Iris Habib Elmasry Volume five.
  3. ^ "First Papal Message (Pope Kyrillos VI, 1959) | Archive of Contemporary Coptic Orthodox Theology". 17 October 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  4. ^ "I Traveled to Egypt for a Miracle Cure for My ALS". Vice. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  5. ^ "The Apparitions of the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary to Millions in Zeitoun, Egypt". www.zeitun-eg.org. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  6. ^ Dunn, Michael. "Coptic Church's Synod Recognizes Two Modern Saints by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark the evanglist 118th ". Middle East Journal, Editors Blog. Retrieved 12 January 2014.

External linksEdit

Oriental Orthodox titles
Preceded by
Joseph II
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Shenouda III