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20.03.2012 Africa

Spindelegger on the death of Coptic Pope Shenouda III

By Austria - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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VIENNA, Austria, March 20, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger has expressed his deep sorrow at the death of the Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Pope Shenouda III, on 17 March 2012 and offers his sincere condolences to the Coptic community in Austria.

The Vice Chancellor visited Pope Shenouda III just less than a year ago in Cairo and had a very interesting and open discussion with him on the situation of the Coptic Church in Egypt and the political changes in the Arab world.

“Pope Shenouda impressed me greatly with his strong faith, his optimism and his intellectual agility. The talks I had with him reconfirmed for me the importance of the EU's consistent worldwide commitment to freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities”, Spindelegger stressed.

Pope Shenouda served as Head of the Coptic Church from 1971. He visited Austria in 1998 and 2004. The Coptic community in Austria has several thousand members and a bishop seated in Vienna.

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