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This article reports on the pope’s fourth visit to St Macarius Monastery since its abbot’s resignation.
Last Tuesday, Pope Shenouda III visited St. Macarius monastery in Wadi Natrūn, accompanied by a delegation of bishops and priests, and the pope’s secretaries; Bishop Yu’annis and Bishop Irmyā. This visit was the patriarch’s fourth one to this monastery since its abbot, the bishop of Assiut, Bishop Mikhā’īl’s controversial resignation after heading the monastery for 65 years. Some Coptic elders believe that powerful hidden forces were behind this resignation, especially after Bishop Mikhā’īl’s long tenure at the monastery.As a result, Pope Shenouda became the direct guardian of the monastery and has visited it four times. The first visit was on May 5, 2009 and the most recent one was last Tuesday. The selection of a secretary for the monastery has remained undecided during the four visits.[To read more about Bishop Mikhā’īl’s resignation see AWR 2009, week 12, art 24, AWR 2009, week 13, article 32, AWR 2009, week 13, art 13, AWR 2009, week 14, art 29]