His Holiness Pope Tawadros II is the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was born in the name of Wagih Subhi Baqi Sulyaman on November 4th, 1952 in the city of Mansoura, Egypt. His father was an Irrigation Engineer and his family moved around during his childhood from Mansoura to Sohag and then to Damanhour.
His Holiness 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 in a pharmaceutical company in Damanhour that was owned by the Ministry of Health.
He entered the Monastery of St. Bishoy in Wadi El Natroun on August 20th, 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 later, on February 15th, 1990, H.H. Pope Tawadros started serving with H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomious of Beheira. He was then ordained as a General Bishop on June 15th, 1997 by H.H. the Late Pope Shenouda III to assist H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomious. His Holiness focused his service on childhood needs 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, His Holiness wrote twelve books.
The papal selection process began several weeks before the November 4th, 2012 Selection Day. About 2,400 clergymen and others shortlisted the selection to three candidates: Bishop Tawadros, former aide to Metropolitan Pachomios; Bishop Raphael; and Father Raphael Ava Mina, a monk in St. Mina's Monastery.
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 or prayer.
On May 8, 2013, Pope Tawadros II, Pope and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark and leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, met with Pope Francis, Pope of Rome and supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, in Vatican City. This was the first meeting of the two recently elected church leaders and only the second papal gathering in Italy in 1,500 years. The last visit of a Coptic pope to the Vatican occurred on 10 May 1973 when then-Pope Shenouda III met with then-Pope Paul VI where they signed an important Christological declaration with the ambition to initiate ecumenical dialogue between the two ancient churches.
On 10 May 2013, Pope Tawadros II and Pope Francis held a shared prayer followed by a reception with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and other dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Pope Tawadros II also visited the tombs of Apostle Peter, the first bishop of Rome and pope of the Catholic Church, and Apostle Paul. Additionally, Pope Tawadros II visited the Coptic community in neighbouring Rome, Italy.