In a letter addressed to His Eminence, Pachomius, Metropolitan of Beheira and Exarch of Pentapolis and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, sent condolences on behalf of the hierarchs, clergy, and people of the Orthodox Church in America on the repose of His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa Saturday, on March 17, 2012.
The text of the letter reads as follows.
“The falling-asleep of His Holiness Shenouda, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa, brings grief and sadness into the hearts of all. The Coptic Orthodox Church grieves for its shepherd. The whole Christian world grieves for a Pope and Patriarch who was steadfast in his witness to the Holy Gospel in Egypt and all of Africa, in North America and around the world.
“Our grief is not the grief of those who have no hope. We live in hope of the resurrection. His Holiness Pope Shenouda lived and died in hope of the resurrection.
“The life and preaching of His Holiness, and his long illness and falling asleep, are testimonies to his abiding faith in the Risen Christ.
“Pope Shenouda leaves for all of us the gift of the joy of Christ’s Resurrection. He leaves for his flock and for all of us the preaching and practice of the ways of peace.
“The present time of change and transition in Egypt has led again to the martyrdom of Christians. Yet it is also a time which we pray will give hope for a better future of peace and equality for all Egyptians. We pray for the safety and welfare of the Coptic Orthodox Church and her people.
“On behalf of the bishops, clergy, and people of the Orthodox Church in America I convey to Your Eminence and the Holy Synod, to all bishops, priests, monastics and laity of the Coptic Orthodox Church, our condolences. We are by your side in prayer and sympathy, with open hearts affirming our unity in faith and hope.”