Pope Shenouda III born Nazeer Gayed Roufail (3 August 1923 – 17 March 2012) was the 117th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic Seat of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. He was also the head of The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. He was a conservative figure within the Church; and also respected within the Muslim community.
A graduate of Cairo University with a degree in History and the Coptic Orthodox Seminary, Nazeer Gayed became a monk under the name Father Antonios the Syrian after joining the Syrian Monastery of the Ever-Virgin Mary the Theotokos, where he was later elevated to the priesthood. Pope Cyril VI summoned Fr. Antonios to the patriarchate where he consecrated him General Bishop for Christian Education and as Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary, whereupon he assumed the name Shenouda, which was the name of a Coptic saint and two previous popes: Shenouda I (859–880) and Shenouda II (1047–1077).
Pope Shenouda served as Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria since 14 November 1971, presiding over a worldwide expansion of the Coptic Orthodox Church. During his papacy, he appointed the first-ever bishops to preside over North American dioceses that now contain over two hundred parishes (200 in the United States, 23 in Canada and one in Mexico), up from four in 1971, as well as the first bishops in Australia and the first bishops in South America. Shenouda was known for his commitment to ecumenism and had, since the 1970s, advocated inter-denominational Christian dialogue. He devoted his writings, teachings and actions to spread and propagate for the rules of understanding, peace, dialogue and forgiveness.