Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria

Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria
Cyril (Kyrillos) VI
Pope and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

Pope Cyril VI, 116th Pope of Alexandria
Papacy began 10 May 1959
Papacy ended 9 March 1971
Predecessor Pope Joseph II
Successor Pope Shenouda III
Personal details
Birth name Azer Youssef Atta
Born 2 August 1902
Damanhour, Egypt
Died 9 March 1971 (age 68)
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Oriental Orthodoxy
Residence Coptic Papal Residence

Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria also called Kyrillos VI, born Azer Youssef Atta (2 August 1902 – 9 March 1971), was the Pope and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (10 May 1959 - 9 March 1971).


Early life

Pope Cyril VI was born in Damanhour, Egypt, into a Coptic Orthodox family. He resigned a civil service position to become a monk in July 1927. He passed his probationary period and, on 24 February 1928, 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.

In 1947, Father Mina built the Church of Saint Mina in Cairo. He also used to pray in the Church of the Holy Virgin in Babylon before assuming the papacy.[1]

Coptic Pope

Papal styles of
Pope Cyril VI
Coptic cross.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Pope and Patriarch
Posthumous style Triple Blessed

Father Mina became Pope of Alexandria on 10 May 1959 (2 Pashons, 1675 A.M.). In accordance with the old Coptic church tradition, Pope Cyril VI was the only monk in the 20th century to be chosen for papacy without having being 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 Yousab II, and after him Pope Shenouda III was a bishop before becoming Pope.[2]

Pope Cyril VI elevated the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church to the title of Patriarch-Catholicos. Abuna Baslios, 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, Pope Cyril VI presided over the Committee of Oriental Orthodox Churches in Addis Ababa, the first ecumenical and non-Chalcedonian synod of these churches held in modern times.

In June 1968, 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.

The papacy of Pope Cyril VI was also marked by the unprecedented Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt (starting on 2 April 1968).

It is said that Pope Cyril VI was gifted with prescience, and that he knew who was coming to see him, their needs (before they revealed them), and God's answers. For instance, it is said that he knew the time of his death. He is also said to have had the gift of bilocation. It is believed by many that countless miracles occurred and continue to occur to this day through the intercession of Pope Cyril VI. He is also believed to be one of the anchorites.

On his death bed, Pope Cyril VI said this to the clergy who were present: "I am leaving to the Lord... With vigilance defend the Church... may the Lord shepherd you." He departed on 9 March 1971, after a short illness.

Attesting to the sanctity of his predecessor, Pope Shenouda III stated that "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."

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.

See also


  1. ^ St Mary Mons
  2. ^ History of the Coptic Church, Iris Habib Elmasry Volume five.
Preceded by
Joseph II
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Shenouda III

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