Pope Tawadros II (born November 4, 1952) is the 118th Coptic Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark since he took office on 18 November 2012, a fortnight after being selected.
Pope Tawadros II was born Wagih Sobhy Baky Soliman on 4 November 1952 in the city of Mansoura in Egypt. He studied at the University of Alexandria, where he received a degree in pharmacy in 1975. After a few years of managing a state-owned pharmaceutical factory, he joined the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi Natrun and was ordained priest in 1989.
On 15 June 1997, he was consecrated as a general bishop by his predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, with the Greek name of Theodoros, which translates to Tawadros in Coptic or Theodore in English. He was assigned to serve in the Eparchy of Behira in the northwestern Delta.
The papal selection process began several weeks before the 4 November selection. About 2,400 clergymen and others shortlisted three candidates: Bishop Tawadros, former aide to Metropolitan Pachomios; Bishop Raphael; and Father Raphael Ava Mina, a monk in a monastery near Alexandria and disciple of 116th Pope, St. Kyrillos VI.
The ceremony to choose the pope from the three consensus candidates was held at Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral at about noon. Prior to the selection, Metropolitan Pachomios, locum tenens of the Church, sealed the chalice with the names with red wax and put it upon the altar as he led the Divine Liturgy. He then told the congregation: “We will pray that God will choose the good shepherd.” Following a moment of silence, a blindfolded boy then picked Tawadros’s name from the chalice. The thousands of congregants in attendance then erupted in ovation, tears and prayer. In response, Pope Tawadros II said from the Monastery of St. Pishoy, “[We] will start by organising the house from within. It is a responsibility. Most important is…that the church, as an institution, serves the community.”