Beautiful Egypt 272 – Illegitimate Metropolitans – 28/11/2018

Beautiful Egypt 272 – Illegitimate Metropolitans – 28/11/2018

   In a previous article, we tackled Pope Ghabrial I, the 57th Patriarch of Alexandria, who was subjected to spiritual wars, and was advised by his spiritual father to behave ascetically and modestly, he obeyed until the wars and sufferings were alleviated. He followed the suit of his predecessor Pope Mikhail in imposing taxes on each new bishop in order to pay the money incurred by the rulers over the churches.

   Pope Kuzman III, the 58th Patriarch succeeded him on the See of St. Mark, his era was a peaceful quiet one except for one incident occurred in Abyssinia: the king of Abyssinia sent to Pope Kuzman III asking him to ordain a Coptic metropolitan for the church there, and making him a guardian for his two young children. Pope Kuzman III responded, and ordained Abba Botros a metropolitan of Abyssinia. The king got severely ill, so he summoned his two sons and Abba Botros, the king took gave his crown to the metropolitan, asking him to put it over the head of whom he saw efficient for kingship among his two sons, indeed the younger son was crowned, as he was better in ruling and managing the country affairs.

   It was not long before two monks called Boktor and Mina arrived to Ethiopia, asking for money from Abba Botros, who refused, so they plotted against him! One of them was disguised as a bishop and the other pretended to be a disciple of him. They faked a letter as if sent from the Patriarch to the statesmen, reading: “We have been informed that a misleading man called Botros came to you, he claims that we ordained him as a metropolitan over your state, yet he is a liar. This letter is brought to you by the legitimate Bishop Mina. We have come to know that the mentioned Botros had crowned the younger son of the king and not the older one, which contradicts with the religious and civil laws. Upon his arrival, you shall excommunicate both the metropolitan and the king, considering Father Mina, the holder of our letter, the legitimate metropolitan, and allowing him to crown the older son as a king.”

   The two monks hurried to hand this fake letter to the older son; he assembled the statesmen and informed them about it, they excommunicated Metropolitan Botros, deprived the younger son of his crown to be given to the older one. It was so long before a dispute occurred between the fake metropolitan and his disciple who robbed all what he had found, going back to Egypt.

   When Pope Kauzman III knew about these incidents, he got very sad, and sent a letter to Ethiopia to excommunicate the liar Mina. The King was agitated at Mina and he killed him, then he summoned Abba Botros from exile to restore him to his See, but he had already passed away due to the great pains he suffered. Some historians mention that Abba Botros had a disciple whom the king appointed as a metropolitan without sending him to the Pope first in order to be ordained, as he feared being removed from power and appointing his brother instead! When Pope Kauzman III knew about it, he was sorrowful and decided not to ordain a metropolitan for the Abyssinians instead of the illegitimate one appointed by the king, and so did four of his successor patriarchs who assumed the See after him.

   Pope Kauzman III spent 12 years on the See of St. Mark and departed in peace in 932 AD. He was a contemporary of Caliph Al Muqtadir, then he was succeeded by Pope Makarios I.

   In 932 AD, Caliph Al Muqtadir died and was succeeded by his brother Abu Mansour Mohammed Al Qaher.

Abu Mansour Mohammed Al Qaher (320 – 322 AH) (932 – 943 AD)

   He assumed the Caliphate after the murder of his brother Al Mu’tadid. The rule was to be assumed by Al Muqtadir’s son, yet the senior statesmen and officials agreed to choose a person capable to manage the country affairs on his own, so they agreed to select Al Qaher. The people pledged allegiance to him, he took over the caliphate and the state issues were stabilized, and… Stories about beautiful Egypt never end.

The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center