Congratulations! You have completed your struggle here on this earth and have now gone to be with your Creator. Since it all started back on November 14, 1971, you have been nothing but the true image of love. It is said of your predecessor, H.H. Pope Kyrillos VI, that he was the embodiment of prayer. Thus, he was called “a man of prayer.” Well, I believe we, the generation who know no other pope in our lives can call you the “a man of love,” as you continually demonstrated your endless love first for your God, and then for us, your flock. From the moment you entered this life, the Lord knew what you will mean to those dwelling in it because He knew what you meant to Him before He sent you. Now that you have entered the eternal life, He can place you in your rightful seat among your fellow saints. We are not the same in your physical absence, but are now lifted up and made better in your eternal presence. Therefore, we mourn not because of your departure but because of our selfishness and weakness, knowing that our earthly shepherd is no longer around us.
However, our tears are turned to rejoicing when we fully understand our faith in the Lord and His Glorious Resurrection. So no, we are not going to be sad, or depressed, nor will we sulk, or groan, or wear black, or feel despair. We always pray saying “there is no death for Your servants, but a departure,” which of course means that we are joyful to know that the Lord, God Almighty has called you back into His holy arms, after He lent you to us for a short period of time. Our collective voice has been made stronger in the eyes of the world because of your service. We are eternally grateful to God for sending us such a wise, caring, loving father like you to guard us and guide us through our earthly spiritual struggle.
We, your children, know that the gates of Heaven have opened and have welcomed you above where there are no tears or sicknesses. Our Good and Loving God has allowed us to enjoy your wisdom and guidance on Earth, and to follow the only great spiritual leader some of us have ever known. Through your guidence, teachings and your sense of humor that will never be forgotten, you have led the Egyptian Coptic community through the roughest times ever and have shown multiple generations around the world that God is always in control. Heaven is feasting right now because of your arrival. The angels are singing praises right now as they hear Our Lord tell you “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
So today, your children want to congratulate you and thank you for your years of faithful service and unfading love. We will not be saying goodbye to you, but rather we ask you to pray for us before the Throne of the Pantocrator until we see you again. Your earthly presence will be missed but your heavenly presence will most certainly be felt. Intercede for us and continue to take care of us up there.