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By a blindfolded child, as it turns out (and by a broad vote):

Thousands of people flooded into Cairo’s Abbasiya Cathedral Tuesday to say a final farewell to Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christians for more than four decades.

Shenouda III died Saturday at the age of 88.

His successor’s name will be chosen by a blindfolded child from among three finalists chosen by community leaders — a process that could take months.

The funeral could bring millions of Christians onto the streets of Egypt at a time when tensions with the Muslim majority are high.

Egypt’s Christian minority has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks in the past several years.

The bombing of a major church in Alexandria in January 2011 left at least 21 people dead, and at least 25 Coptic Christians and their supporters were killed in clashes with the army in October. That incident was the bloodiest in Egypt since its revolution in February.


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