The meaning of the word “Ministry” evolved during the period of time covered by the Holy Bible: from the days of Moses to the days of the Apostles. During the early days covered by the Old Testament, the word “minister” was used to designate someone attending a high ranking person. A most characteristic identification of the ministry is with the Levites priests in the Temple: “At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless his name, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 10:8).
Fr. Benjamin Abouelkheir is the priest for the Holy Cross Coptic Orthodox Church. H.S . Bishop Youssef, with the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion, ordained him priest on December, 1, 2013. We pray that the Lord will continue blessing his service.
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Listening to the call of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Grace Bishop Youssef entered the monastic life in 1986 at the El-Souryan Monastery. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1988. Then in 1989, he came to the United States under the auspices of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of the Holy See of St. Mark. He was appointed resident priest to serve the Coptic congregation of St. Mary Church in Dallas/Fort Worth.
In 1992, His Grace was ordained as General Bishop and in 1993, His Grace was appointed to oversee the Southern Coptic Diocese. In 1995, His Grace was enthroned as the first Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States.
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His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was born Wagih Sobhy Baky Soliman on November 4th, 1952 in Mansoura. His father was an irrigation engineer and his family moved around during his childhood from Mansoura to Sohag and then to Damanhour.
He received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1975 from Alexandria University and earned a fellowship for the World Health Organization from the British International Health Institute in England in 1985. He attended the Coptic Seminary and graduated in 1983. He then worked as a manager in a pharmaceutical company in Damanhour that was owned by the Ministry of Health.
His Holiness’s life has always revolved around church since his youth; he wished to live the life of monasticism. He entered the Monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi Elnatroun on August 20, 1986 and remained a brother for two years. He was ordained a monk on July 31, 1988 and after a year he was ordained a priest on December 23, 1989. Two months after, H.H. Pope Tawadros started serving with H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomious of Beheira on February 15, 1990. He was ordained a bishop on June 15, 1997 by H.H. the Late Pope Shenouda III as a General Bishop assisting H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomious. His Holiness focused on childhood whether it was in the country-wide children’s festival as well when he was in charge of the children’s committee in the Holy Synod. Before assuming the papacy, H.H. wrote twelve books.
His Holiness was enthroned as the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Pope of the See of St. Mark on November 18, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Reweis in Abbassiya, Cairo. The enthronement was presided by H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomious of Beheira, other metropolitans and bishops of the Coptic church and was attended by many delegates of Christian Churches.