CAIRO: The Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt is mourning the death of former patriarch Cardinal Antonios Naguib, who died on March 28, aged 87.
Naguib, a leading figure in the 250,000-strong Catholic Coptic community, was fluent in English, French, Italian and German.
He was born on March 18, 1935 in Samalut, Minya governorate, Upper Egypt.
Naguib was unanimously elected as patriarch on March 30, 2006 after his predecessor, Cardinal Stephen II, submitted his resignation due to health conditions.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI promoted Naguib to cardinal. Three years later, however, ill health forced Naguib to step down as patriarch.
He leaves a legacy of social activities, and writings in Arabic and English, including “The Gospel of Bliss,” in which he explained the beatitudes of Christ in the famous sermon.
Naguib opened the House of Peter the Apostle to handle publishing and translation work for the church in Egypt, and also set up a number of economic projects, such as Al-Amal Hospital in Al-Fakrya, Mazraat Shusha, and the Second Good Shepherd School in Shalaby in Minya.
Pope Tawadros II, leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, sent a telegram to Anba Ibrahim Ishaq, the Coptic Catholic patriarch, offering condolences on the death of Naguib.
The pope described Naguib as “a dignified personality serving spirit and truth, and a scholar of knowledge and biblical studies who gained the love and respect of many.”
Episcopal Church Archbishop of Alexandria Sami Fawzy also praised Naguib’s church service.
Apostolic Vicar Claudio Lurati, his deputy Monsignor Antoine Tawfik and the archdiocese Shoura Council offered condolences.