Pope Shenouda III, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, died at the age of 89, the Egyptian TV reported on Saturday.
Egyptian Copts are the largest Christian orthodox community in the Middle East. The Copts form from six to 10 percent of the country's 85 million population. There are about 163 Coptic churches only in Cairo.
The 117th Coptic pope with worldly name of Nazeer Gayed was born on August 3, 1923 in the Egyptian city of Asyut. He was a graduate of Cairo University and the Coptic Orthodox Seminary.
In 1962, he was appointed as Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary and enthroned as Pope Shenouda III in 1971.
Shenouda III was an active proponent of interfaith dialogue.
Mark the Evangelist is considered as the first head of the Coptic Church who brought Christian teaching to the land of Egypt in 1 BC, founding the first church in Alexandria.