St Kyrillos VI

When Pope Kyrillos laughed in the altar

St Menas, both personally and through his monastery, was a source of power and comfort for Kyrillos. At the monastery he received insight and inspiration for his method of reform, and, invariably, it was there that he would “solve” the problems of the Church—often in the most remarkable ways. One of Kyrillos’ closest deacons, a friend from his days at Old Cairo by the name of Professor Hanna Youssef Hanna, recollects attending Vespers at St Menas’ Monastery. During the doxologies, Kyrillos stood silently in the sanctuary. Suddenly he smiled widely and laughed.

“A sight that shocked me,” reminisces Hanna, “for knowing him for so many years, I knew firsthand how strict he was on himself and others inside the sanctuary.” After the service, Hanna asked him for the reason, but the patriarch evaded. Finally, upon being pressed, Kyrillos promised to tell him on the strict condition that the incident be concealed until his death: “When I entered the sanctuary,” Kyrillos said, “I was deeply troubled by an issue related to the Copts. Suddenly, St Menas appeared to me and asked why I was distressed. When I explained the reason, he responded, ‘Do you think you are alone? We are all here supporting you.’ Then, he lightly pushed me, and so I laughed. . . .”

Ref: A Silent Patriarch: Kyrillos VI: Life and Legacy (Fr Daniel Fanous)

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