Cairo-- His Eminence Marcos (Mark), Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis of Toulon and All France, and Primate of the French Coptic Orthodox Church (The Église Copte Orthodoxe de France), passed away on Sunday 11 May (2008-05-11).

The sudden death of His Eminence Metropolitan Marcos is a loss of a faithful son of Coptic Orthodoxy who was greatly loved and respected in ecumenical circles. His Eminence Metropolitan Marcos was consecrated a bishop of the Coptic Church on 5 May 1974 and was ordained as a Metropolitan of Toulon France in Cairo on 19 June 1994.

Although Abba Marcos had suffered health problems, including cancer, for more than a year, he continued to undertake many activities and was assiduous in witnessing to the Coptic tradition in ecumenical circles throughout Europe. He had also experienced occasional chest pains over the past year. On 6 May he and His Grace Athanasius, Auxiliary Bishop of the Holy Metropolis of Toulon and All France, Assistant to His Eminence Marcos, were scheduled to travel to Barcelona to deliver a lecture about the Coptic Church. At the last minute their driver was unable to take them by car, so they decided to take the train. It was a very comfortable wagon and Abba Marcos slept calmly for the whole journey. Upon arrival in Barcelona, he was pale and breathless complained of chest pains, so his hosts rushed him to the nearby Notre Dame du Bon Remède, where it was discovered he had suffered a severe heart attack. In hospital he was cheerful and alert and took the chance to read a book as well as resting and praying.

On Sunday morning, 11 May, Abba Athanasios had to leave Barcelona to celebrate the Liturgy for the Coptic community at Cerverabut planned to return that night. It is only then that he learned of the departure of Abba Marcos around 10.30 a.m. It was Western Pentecost.

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III sent Bishops Bassilios of the Monastery of St. Samuel at Maghagha in Minya and Abraam of the Fayoum to help and according to Abba Marcos' will, his body was transferred to Egypt to be buried at St Bishoy's Monastery.

They arrived in Cairo on 18 May and were graciously received by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, who presided at the funeral which took place in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo, in the presence of a large congregation and many members of the Holy Synod.

The French Coptic Orthodox Church is integrated within the Church of Alexandria, but is considered autonomous in matter of governance.


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