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Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria

Pope Saint
Cyril (Kyrillos) VI
116th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Papacy began 10 May 1959
Papacy ended 9 March 1971
Predecessor Joseph II
Successor Shenouda III
Personal details
Birth name Azer Youssef Atta
Born (1902-08-08)8 August 1902
Damanhour, Egypt
Died 9 March 1971(1971-03-09) (aged 68)
Cairo, Egypt
Buried Monastery of Saint Mina, Alexandria, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian

1959-1968 Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Azbakeya)

1968-1971 Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo
Feast day 9 March
Canonized 20 June 2013
Papal styles of
Pope Cyril VI
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Pope and Patriarch
Posthumous style Saint

Pope St. Cyril VI of Alexandria also called Abba Kyrillos VI, born Azer Youssef Atta (8 August 1902 – 9 March 1971), 116th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark from 10 May 1959 to his death on 9 March 1971.


  • Early life 1
  • Coptic Pope 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

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

Pope Cyril VI with President Gamal Abdel Nasser, May 1967

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 been 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 Joseph II (1946-1956). After him, Pope Shenouda III was also a bishop before becoming Pope.[2]

Pope Cyril VI elevated the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to the title of Patriarch-Catholicos. Abuna Basilios, 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.

Pope Cyril VI of Alexanderia in the Ethiopian court

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.

Cyril's papacy also saw marked the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt (starting on 2 April 1968).[3][4]

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.

Cyril died on 9 March 1971, after a short illness. Pope Shenouda III spoke about his predecessor: "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." On 20 June 2013, 42 years after his death, he was canonised as a saint by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.[5]

See also


  1. ^ St Mary Mons
  2. ^ History of the Coptic Church, Iris Habib Elmasry Volume five.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Dunn, Michael. "Coptic Church's Synod Recognizes Two Modern Saints by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark the evanglist 118th .". Middle East Journal, Editors Blog. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 


  • Short Bio of Pope St. Kyrillos VI
  • Bio of Pope St. Kyrillos VI, long version (Zipped PDF)

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph II
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Shenouda III
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