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Egypt: Catholic Copts elect new Patriarch

 Retired Bishop Antonios Naguib of Minya has been elected the new Patriarch of Alexandria of the Catholic Coptic Church. The new patriarch replaces Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, 86, who had presented his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican press announced. Bishop Naguib, 71, was elected by the Synod of Bishops of the Coptic Church at the St Joseph's Convent of the Egyptian Sisters of the Sacred Heart on March 20. Bishop Naguib entered the seminary of Maadi in Cairo, and later studied theology at the Urbanian College in Rome from 1953-1958. He was ordained a priest in 1960. He later returned to Rome to obtain a licentiate in theology in 1962 and another in Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1964. He taught this subject at the Patriarchal Seminary of Maadi until his election as bishop of Minya in July 1977. He submitted his resignation as bishop of Minya in September 2002 to take a period of rest. The Coptic Church was founded by the martyr Mark between AD 40 and 60 in Alexandria. There are about 250,000 Catholic Copts in Egypt, which is a minority in a country of 74 million inhabitants. Ninety-four percent of them are Muslims while the rest are Orthodox Copts. Source: CISA