|The three papal finalists, from left: Bishop|
Tawadros, Father Raphael Ava Mina and Bishop
Raphael (Photo: courtesy of Cairo Downtown
Churches facebook page)
Cairo,29 October, 2012: Throughout the day the Coptic electors have been casting their votes for the five candidates for the papal throne and this evening it was announced that the three who have emerged as the front runners are Bishop Raphael (1980 votes), Bishop Tawadros (1623 votes) and Father Raphael Ava Mina (1530 votes). These will be the three names which will be placed on the altar at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Abbeseya and from which the next Pope & Patriarch will be chosen by the Sacred Lot on Sunday, 4 November.
Of some 2412 eligible voters, 2177 voted, a turn-out of some 90%. Members of the Holy Synod who were eligible to vote but chose not to, were Metropolitan Mikhail of Assuit, Bishop Serapion of Los Angeles, Bishop Paphnutius of Samalout and Bishop Boula of Africa. Three other bishops, who, as they are not Egyptian citizens, were not eligible to vote: Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury, Bishop Athanasius of France and Bishop Elia of Khartoum.
Among those voting were five Archbishops delegated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewehedo Church, which included Archbishop Antonios, who normally resides in London. Under the terms of the Protocol with the Eritrean Orthodox Church there are two official observers who are His Grace Bishop Makarios (New Jersey) and Father Teklemariam of Frankfurt, who is the episcopal administrator of the European diocese, who are both loyal to the imprisoned Patriarch, Abune Antonios. The Coptic Orthodox Church declined to accept any representatives from the government controlled Synod in Asmara.