From l954 to l962, Father Antonius El-Souryan lived the life of solitude he desired totally devoted to contemplation, fasting, and prayer. He would become ordained a priest. Father Antonius El-Souryan would see an end to his cherished hermetic life and adhere to the calling to set his desires aside and obediently accept the ordination of Bishop of Christian Education and became the director of the Theological Seminary. Father Antonius was then given the name of Abba Shenouda. His Grace was responsible for the Christian guidance for the youth and the Christian education in all the dioceses of Egypt. Under His Grace's administration in the Theological Seminary, the number of students attending tripled. On November 14, l971 His Grace Bishop Shenouda was once again called upon to be obedient and was then enthroned as our beloved Pope.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the 116th* successor of St. Mark the Apostle, the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark Papacy exemplifies…
A Life of Considered, Complete, and Lifelong Commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ said, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:33) Certainly to be a disciple meant to consider the cost of following the Lord Jesus Christ and willingly pay it. The cost of monasticism demands everything a person has, is, and will become. Divine inspiration proclaimed in the Holy Book of Wisdom (4:1), "How good is the chaste generation." St. Paul taught that God calls us in holiness (Thessalonians 4:3). We can be sure, Pope Shenouda in considering the monastic way of life desired to live the life of angels in Heaven while here on earth. The Lord of Glory said, "For in the Resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels of God in Heaven" (Matthew 22:30).
The considered virtuous life of His Holiness Pope Shenouda, it is evident, has not been lived through the flesh but through the spirit. Father John Cassian wrote, "There will be no virtue which makes a human resemble the angels like the virtue of chastity, because the human life with chastity, while still residing in the body, as if the body does not exist, will "not be in the flesh but in the Spirit" with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9). The human person who can live in chastity and purity is higher than the angels who live without bodies which desire against their spirits."
His Holiness stands as a constant example to all people and to those monastic in particular. St John the celibate disciple was known as the one "Jesus loved." He was so endeared to the Lord that he leaned on His bosom at the Last Supper, and dared to boldly ask what the rest of the disciples certainly did not, "Lord who is one who betrayed You?" (John 21:20) When the Lord Jesus Christ would later suddenly show Himself at the Sea of Tiberius, following His Glorious Resurrection, not one of His chosen disciples who were present would recognize their beloved Lord, except St. John the celibate who would in awe exclaim to St. Peter, "It is the Lord" (John 21:1-7). St. Eronimos explained this significant recorded event as "nobody recognized Him except John, because it was only the celibate who knew the Celibate, the Son of the Celibate."