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Pope John XVIII of Alexandria was the 107th Coptic Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark (23 October 1769 – 7 June 1796).
Pope John XVIII was born in Fayoum. His lay name was Joseph. He became a monk in the Monastery of Saint Anthony. At the departure of Pope Mark VII, he was unanimously chosen to succeed him. He was ordained at the church of Saint Philopater Mercurius in Cairo, on Sunday, 15 Paopi, 1486 A.M. (23 October 1769 A.D.)
Relations with Rome
During his papacy, Pope Pius VI of Rome attempted to attract the Eastern Churches to Roman Catholicism. Thus, he published the proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon and distributed it in all the countries of the East. Pope Pius VI of Rome even sent an envoy to Pope John XVIII of Alexandria asking him to unite with the Roman Catholic Church. The famous scholar and theologian Joseph el-Abbah, Bishop of Girga responded to the message, refuting its claims and defending Orthodoxy.
During the papacy of Pope John XVIII, the Copts were persecuted by the Ottoman rulers. The Jizya was increased to unprecedent amounts of money, and those who could not pay it had to convert to Islam or be executed. The commander of the Ottoman army stationed in Egypt seized the treasury of the Patriarchate and confiscated all its funds. Pope John XVIII had to go into hiding for some time.
Pope John XVIII departed on 2 Paoni, 1512 A.M. (7 June 1796 A.D.) He remained on the papal Throne of Saint Mark for 26 years, 7 months, and 16 days. He was buried in the tombs of the Patriarchs at the church of Saint Philopater Mercurius in Cairo. The papal Throne remained vacant after his departure for 3 months and 26 days.
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