Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of the Egyptian Copts for over 40 years, died March 18, 2012. Photo from ABC news.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Coptic Christian Church in Egypt, as tens of thousands mourned the death of Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic spiritual leader since 1971 and a president of the World Council of Churches (WCC) from 1991 to 1998. In a letter to the church dated 18 March, World Council of Churches general secretary the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit paid tribute to Pope Shenouda’s unwavering pursuit of Christian unity and peace throughout the Middle East and the world.