Pope Cyril III of Alexandria

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Cyril III of Alexandria
75th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Papacy began 17 June 1235
Papacy ended 10 March 1243
Predecessor John VI
Successor Athanasius III
Personal details
Born Egypt
Died 10 March 1243
Buried Wax (El-Shamaa) Monastery
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian
Residence The Hanging Church

Pope Cyril III of Alexandria (also known as Cyril III ibn Laqlaq), 75th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. In 1238, he issued a new set of canons for the Coptic church and its dependencies in Ethiopia, Nubia, and Cyrenaica.[1]


Due to his influence before he became the Pope it was not possible to ordain any other person except him, which led to about nineteen years of vacancy of that important post. This is the longest vacancy in the history of the Coptic Orthodox Church.[2]

Jerusalem's Coptic Bishop[edit]

Cyril used the increasing military and political power of Egypt over Jerusalem to appoint a Coptic Orthodox bishop of that church, which until then had been the prerogative of the Patriarch of Antioch. This angered Patriarch Ignatius III David, who retaliated by attempting unsuccessfully to fill the vacancy of Abuna or metropolitan for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This was a very rare incident between the two churches, as in general their relationship is one of the strongest between any two churches.[2]


Although he started his papacy by abiding to the Coptic Church's laws forbidding simony, he soon started selling ranks in the church. The Coptic Church's Bishops gathered in a synod in an attempt to prevent this. They decided to hold a general council of the clergy and the archons to look into the situation and make recommendations. Sultan al-Malik al-Sālih Najm al-Dīn Ayyūb (1239–1249) took the initiative and summoned that council.[3] It is thought that Cyril II bribed the caliphal court with 12,000 dinars and due to this he was able to swing the verdict, continuing the practice of simony


Despite opposition to Cyril he was able to rule the church in relative peace until his death in 1243. His reign lasted seven years, nine months, and ten days, and he was buried in Wax Monastery (Dair El-Shamaa) at Giza, Egypt. After his death his Throne of Saint Mark remained vacant for seven years.

Preceded by
John VI
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Athanasius III


  1. ^ St Shenouda
  2. ^ a b History of the Coptic Church, Abouna Menassa Elkomos Youhanna 1923
  3. ^ Dacb