Copts fast for three days ahead of altar lottery

Starting Wednesday, Copts will fast for three days before the altar lottery is conducted on Sunday to choose the new Coptic Pope.

The altar lottery will decide the successor to Pope Shenouda III among Bishop Raphael, auxiliary bishop of central Cairo, Bishop Tawadros, the auxiliary bishop for Beheira, and Father Raphael Ava Mina, a monk at St. Mina Monastery.

Bishop Angaelos, secretary for acting Pope Pachomius, said the Church will conduct a lottery to choose one child from amongst 70 children to conduct the final altar lottery.

Georgette Qillini, a member of the nominations committee, said the church has geared up for the altar lottery. Three bits of paper bearing the names of the three nominees will be placed in a glass box and then a child, between 4 and 7 years old, will pick one paper.

The acting pope will announce the name of the winner and the two other bits of paper will be taken out of the box and opened to show that they bore the names of the other two candidates. The three candidates, still in their retreats, will then be notified of the result of the lottery.

She added that the operations room set up by Pachomius has worked hard to facilitate the vote of expatriate Copts.

Qillini said 94 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, adding that there was a judge appointed to each ballot box to ensure the integrity of the vote, even though monitoring is not required.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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