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Pope Christodolos of Alexandria (also known as Abd-el-Messiah) was the Coptic Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark (1047 - 1077).
He joined the Paromeos Monastery in the Nitrian Desert before becoming a Pope. During his tenure Cairo became the fixed and official residence of the Coptic Pope, when he moved the Seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria to Saint Mary's The Hanging Church in Cairo.
Infighting between the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus and the El Muallaqa Church broke out due to the wishes of that patriarch's desire to be consecrated in the Hanging Church, a ceremony that traditionally took place at Saints Sergius and Bacchus.
Relations with Antioch
The Patriarchs of Antioch and the Pope of Alexandria had for many years kept in close touch with one another. More than once their relations were strained, as happened particularly in the time of Patriarch John IX bar Shushan, and Christodulus, when they fell out over the proper presentation of the Eucharistic oblations, in which the Lyrian Jacobites were in the habit of mingling a little oil and salt (Neale, Patriarchate of Alexandria, II, 214). Christodulus insultingly rejected the practice, and John of Antioch wrote in its defence. In 1169 a new controversy, about the use of auricular confession severed the once friendly relations between the two communions.
Following the death of the Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Emperor of Ethiopia sent an embassy asking Pope Christodolos to ordain a new one. He replied that he was unable to ordain one due to persecution against the Christians in Egypt at the time. As a result, an adventurer named Abdun took advantage of this interregnum and presented himself to the Ethiopian Emperor with forged documents, claiming to be the newly appointed Abuna.
- J. Spencer Trimingham, Islam in Ethiopia (Oxford: Geoffrey Cumberlege for the University Press, 1952), p. 63.
- This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.
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