Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III is often praised, in particular by his own followers, for his ecumenical stances. The reality is, however, somewhat different, as the decisions of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod show. All synod meetings were presided over by Pope Shenouda, a strong and charismatic leader, who has often selected bishops on the basis of their loyalty to him (see for example John Watson’s “Among the Copts.”). The decisions in the Synod therefore strongly represent Pope Shenouda’s own positions, which show a strong defensive approach to perceived intrusions from Christian denominations, in particular Protestants, with different views from those of the Coptic Orthodox. The Catholics have made strong efforts for dialogue, but on issues such as on the purgatory, the immaculate conception of the Holy Virgin and the place of the church of Rome in the early church the two churches could not come to an agreement.