Pope of Egypt’s Coptic Christian Church dies

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Throughout, Shenouda largely worked to contain anger among Copts.

But in one 2004 incident, he stepped aside to allow Coptic protests, sparked when Wafa Constantine, the wife of a priest, fled her home to convert to Islam. Many Christians accused police of encouraging or forcing Christians to convert. Amid the protests, Shenouda isolated himself at the Saint Bishoy monastery until the government ensured Constantine returned home. She was later quoted as saying she converted to Islam to divorce her husband, since divorce is banned by the Church.

Shenouda kept a strict line on church doctrine — including the ban on divorce, except in cases of adultery — in the face of calls by secular and liberal Copts for reform, including reducing the role of clergymen in Christians‘ life.

Archbishop Moussa told mourners at the cathedral that Shenouda would be buried at the Bishoy Monastery.

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AP correspondent Aya Batrawy in Cairo contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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