Pope Yousab II

As many of you know, I serve at a female Monastery in Ohio in the US. There was a group of high school and college age kids at our church today because it was the 40 days after one of our parishioner's mothers passed away.

We have photos and paintings on the wall leading to the dining area with all of the Popes from the mid 19th century to today. One of the guys was telling the group about Pope Yousab II and I mentioned to them that he was removed from office and that there was no Pope from 1956 until Baba Kyrillos in 1959.

He was adamant that I was incorrect, but when I did a quick recheck I saw a number of sources supporting my comment.

As an Italian American, I am used to Popes mysteriously dying or being deposed while in office. Is the story of Pope Yousab II something that is not taught, or is it just something overlooked because Baba Kyrillos was so heavily revered because of his amazing humility and meekness?

Was I inappropriate for bringing this to their attention? Are there reliable sources from church history to explain what happened? I understand it was due to taking bribes for official church positions.

Thank you. Please pray for us at the Monastery.

Deacon Gregory


  • edited May 2019
    You are right that Pope Yousab's story is not something the church would rather talk about, to be honest. It's not something that was really taught to us as kids (coming from an Egyptian-American through and through). I suppose we learned about H.H. Saint Pope Kyrillos VI when we were young in the context of him being an amazing, holy, and powerful saint. We don't talk much about other patriarchs if you really think about it! And Pope Yousab certainly isn't an exception to that. What reason would there really be to bring him up?

    Yes, he was deposed due to his inability to lead as patriarch, instead depending on a servant who served as a relay between him and the church. This source in Arabic describes the story--you can translate it in Google translate (I find that sources in Arabic tell the story much 

    "There was a servant of the Patriarch named "Kamel Gerges" [whom the pope trusted] him in blind trust, but during the period of the Patriarchate he misused his position, and he played with the patriarchal status of the ordination of priests and their movements and the nomination of bishops and others. Falsifying a letter from the Patriarch to isolate one of the bishops who stood in his face. This servant was arrested on August 29, 1953. For a while, he was then prevented from entering the Patriarchate.

    When the patriarch's condition worsened, the minister entered into his main affairs and became an outcast from the blackness of the nation. Some of the extremists of the "Coptic Nation Group" took place on 25 July 1954. And climbed the walls of the Patriarchate at night and stormed into his room and forced him to threaten the arms to go down with them to the St. Mark Church, and went to ancient Egypt and put him in the monastery." etc.

    He did many, many great things that, unfortunately, are overlooked in favor of the negatives of his reign.

    I would argue that that piece of our Church's history isn't exactly a prideful one. Despite that, you are not wrong for bringing it up--its would be wrong to deny his prior position as our patriarch. He still was chosen by God and he still occupied the See of St. Mark and was a successor to the apostolic throne. 

    It was a sad time in our history, but we cannot deny it. No human is perfect. God brought us his beautiful holy angel Pope Kyrillos to lead Egypt into an era of holiness. 

    God be with the monastery and may He bless your service and bless us all. +
  • How many popes did this happen with ?
  • edited May 2019
    “Remove from office” is a confusing phrase, which might be the reason for the reaction. He was deposed, but we waited until he died to even think about replacing him. We never tried to replace Popes while they were alive unless we believe they were illegitimate due to known heretical/schismatic ties, like Arianism, Julianism, or Chalcedonian. So it’s like a “pseudo-removal”; “you’re still the Pope, but for all intents and purposes, your leadership is no longer functional.”

    One other Pope who I can think of off the top of my head which the Church deposed is Pope Cyril III for open and unabashed simony, which he would defend himself saying “I had no choice.”
Sign In or Register to comment.