Pope Christodolos of Alexandria

Christodolos of Alexandria
Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Papacy began 1047
Papacy ended 1077
Predecessor Shenouda II
Successor Cyril II
Personal details
Born Egypt
Died 1077
Buried Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian
Residence The Hanging Church

Pope Christodolos of Alexandria (also known as Abd-el-Messiah), 66th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

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 Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church 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.

Pope Christodolos was the one who ordered that the Copts should standardize on the Bohairic Dialect, which was the dialect of parts of Northern Egypt and the monasteries of the Scetes. This was the dialect that was starting to weaken and give way to Arabic. His intention was to strengthen the weakening Coptic. However, he inadvertently helped weaken the Coptic further in the region where it was still going strong, the Sahidic region (Upper Egypt). It is not unexpected that Sahidic Coptic survived to the 15th and 16th century. We know of an Italian visitor to Upper Egypt in the 17th century who wrote that he met a Coptic priest and an old woman who could still speak Coptic

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.[1]


  1. J. Spencer Trimingham, Islam in Ethiopia (Oxford: Geoffrey Cumberlege for the University Press, 1952), p. 63.
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 
Preceded by
Shenouda II
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Cyril II

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