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Coptic pope undergoes spinal surgery



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



CLEVELAND (AP) -- Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church based in Egypt had successful spinal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and is expected to be released soon, the research hospital said Tuesday.

"He is in excellent condition and recovering well in his hospital suite," the clinic said. No details were released.

The surgery was performed Sunday by Dr. Iain Kalfas, chairman of neurosurgery at the clinic.

Shenouda, 83, has started physical therapy in his room and is expected to be released from the hospital soon, according to the clinic, which said he would continue physical therapy when he returns to Egypt.

Shenouda has led the Coptic Orthodox Church since 1971. Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's more than 70 million people and are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.

Under his leadership, the church has established congregations in the United States, South America, New Zealand and Australia. Its four North American congregations in 1971 have grown to more than 100.




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