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Conflicting reports have surfaced regarding the health of Pope Shenouda III, who is 89 years old. Some Church sources say that his condition is deteriorating while other Church sources deny the claim.
Rumors have spread through Cairo’s Coptic community that the Pope has fallen into a coma.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that a source, which it failed to identify, said that the Pope cut short a recent trip to the United States due to kidney and heart ailments.
However, clergymen in the Coptic Church have denied such claims.
“The Pope is fine and will deliver his weekly sermon on Wednesday,” said Bishop Morcos, Holy Synod spokesman, denying that the Pope had to cut short a recent visit to the United States because he was ill.
Moreover, the Pope’s secretary, Bishop Armia, assured that the Pope is in good health. Armia said on his Facebook page that reports about the Pope’s deteriorating health are incorrect.
Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 85 million. Historically, they have depended on the Church to negotiate with the state on their behalf, especially with regard to church building.