The following funeral oration was delivered impromptu by His Eminence Metropolitan Bakhomious, Metropolitan of Beheira and Pentapolis, and Locum Tenens of the See of St. Mark, towards the end of the funeral for the thrice-blessed Pope Shenouda III. Despite its spontaneity, the oration reflected the work of the Holy Spirit in its clarity, power, and emotion. Courtesy to Mark Moussa of St. John Church for the translation from Arabic to English.
In the name of the Coptic Church and her Holy Synod, with the hope of the resurrection, we bid farewell to His Holiness, our beloved father, our shepherd of shepherds, our archpriest of archpriests, our teacher, our father, the thirteenth apostle, His Holiness, our beloved father, Pope Shenouda III. With the hope of the resurrection, we bid him farewell.
And, my beloved, we are consoled by the departure of our father, on whose hands we were raised for more than 50 years. For he has lead the church since the first half of the past century. He has left a great treasure in the life of the church, if not the whole world. His Holiness, our beloved father, whose fatherhood we cherish, we shall not forget his work with us in our church. For he lead the church as a wise and skillful commander, he lead revivalist thought by the work of the Holy Spirit, and he preserved the church in its renaissance without digression. He preserved the church in its revival by the power of prayer. Liturgical prayers increased in the monasteries and the churches, and he undertook great work by the power of the Holy Spirit.
He effected a revivalist movement in the church when he published sound Orthodox teaching. So theological institutes increased. Thus Orthodox thought spread in all the corners of the inhabited world representing the thought of His Holiness, whom we cherish.
He lead the revivalist movement in the Coptic Church, and in his time, he consecrated by his hands many of the youth in the whole world. And there was great and strong guidance in the churches and institutions. This was powerful work, through the effect of the Holy Spirit, through whom He worked powerfully, for he is a man of the wilderness, a man of prayer, a man who taught, and a man who guided. And we shall not forget, to the end of the age, what Pope Shenouda has done in the life of the whole church and other churches.
My beloved, words cannot describe our beloved, our leader, and our shepherd, by whose hands we were reared. He left us an example of leadership. He was the prophet Moses of his time. He was the Joshua of his time. He was Nehemiah. He was John the Baptist. He was Paul the apostle. His leadership had an effect on the whole world.
His wise leadership made his children believe in the legitimacy of national unity. So he was a leader in national unity in our country.
By the power of his effective and authoritative work, he unified the churches of the world. Thus, there are [ecumenical] dialogues. And today we see in our midst our brothers from various churches in the whole world. The [Roman] Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox, the Ethiopian churches, the Syrian churches, the Lutheran churches, the Anglican churches. It is this assembly, as a result of his wise leadership, in which we see our Christian brothers from the world, as well as our Muslim brothers from the Middle East, from the Arabian peninsula, and from Egypt. This is the fruit of the powerful command which Pope Shenouda III enjoyed. He is an example of leadership!
The work Pope Shenouda has undertaken required that he make disciples out of many. His age is the most significant age we have experienced in consecrating youth. They became his students that they would evangelize, become servants of the Word, and their voices spread throughout the inhabited world.
For words, my beloved, cannot describe the truth of this beloved man!
For words cannot describe what Pope Shenouda has accomplished in his generation! But this voice will persist until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in His Glory. He hears a voice today saying, “Enter into the joy of your master.”
And we pray! We pray that he might intercede for us, and that we might inherit with him a portion of the heavenly glory. And so we bid him farewell on the hope of the resurrection.
We say to him, “Go, our father, into the place of your rest! Remember us before the throne of grace. Pray that the Lord may complete our days in peace, just as your days were completed in peace.”
To our God is due all glory and honor, now and forever, Amen.