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Pope Gabriel VIII of Alexandria was the 97th Coptic Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark (June 20, 1587 – May 14, 1603).
He was originally from Meer and his lay name was Shenouda. He became monk in the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Scetes. He was ordained on Sunday, 16 Paoni, 1303 A.M. (June 20, 1587 A.D.). The enthronement celebration was headed by Avva Zacharias, Bishop of Jerusalem, and Avva Kyrellos El-Khiami, in the church of Saint Mercurius in Old Cairo. At the time of his ordination, the Copts were divided, and they chose for themselves four different patriarchs. His papacy was later confirmed. He was contemporary of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I.
During his Papacy, Gabriel VIII decreed that the Fast of the Apostles must start on the 21 Paoni and end on 5 Epip, and that Advent must start on the first of Koiak. He also cancelled the Fast of Jonah, and left theFast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary optional. All the Copts at that time approved of these decisions, but reverted to the old tradition of fasting after his departure.
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