Azer (Pope Kirillos) was born on August 2, 1902 from Christian parents. His father was a deacon who spent his spare time teaching hymns and writing about the saints. He loved the church and used to spend long hours praying, and reading the holy Bible in his room. Every year, by tradition, the whole family spent one week in the town of Abyr during the feast of St. Menas (Mari Mina).
When Azer was 25 years old he resigned from his job, and joined Al-Baramus Monastery. His name was changed to Brother Mina. He was loved by all the other monks for his care and help to the elders and the sick. On July 18, 1931 Mina the monk was ordained priest and became Father Mina.
Father Mina loved to live in solitude, and decided to live in a cave two miles away from the monastery. Every Saturday he would go back to the monastery to attend the Vespers prayers, and spend the night there in order to attend the Sunday Mass and share in the Holy Communion.
Lots of people used to visit Father Mina, seeking his prayer sand blessings. The Lord helped him perform great miracles of healing and solving different problems. A group of people who loved Father Mina and his intercessor Mari Mina started a big project in old Cairo. They built the monastery of Mari Mina, for those who seek the blessing of this great saint, and also to serve as a living place for out-of-town students.
After Pope Usab (the 115th pope) died, Father Mina, among other monks, was nominated to succeed the departed pope. On April 19, 1959 the Altar Lot took place: Father Mina’s name was drawn. The cathedral bells rang, and everybody rejoiced at the Lord choice. A good shepherd had been chosen for the Coptic people: Father Mina, who now became Pope Kirillos VI.
The fact that Father Mina became the new Pope did not change him. He regularly evening and morning incense, and celebrated daily masses as usual. In this content, Pope Shenouda says, "Church history has no record of anyone like Pope Kirillos. He celebrated mass over twelve thousand time, a fact unheard of in the history of the popes of Alexandria, or the world. He was wonderful in his prayers. He trusted the Lord was able to solve his problems, and he saw that it was only through mass and prayers that problems should be solved, and not through human efforts."
Pope Kirillos started a spiritual movement among his people. Thousand of worshipers attended his daily masses, and went to him seeking his blessing and prayers. He showed them the way of the Lord, as they felt his fatherly love and care. His spiritual care was extended to the Orthodox people all over the world. Coptic churches started tin Kuwait, Canada, United States, and Australia.
The appearance of the Virgin Mary at her church in Zeitoun (a suburb of Cairo) was a unique spiritual event that crowned the reign of Pope Kirillos. This heavenly declaration was the first of its kind since the descent of the Holly Spirit on the disciples on the day of the Pentecost. The appearance was repeated night after night. It was seen by thousands of people, Christians and non-Christians alike. Miracles were performed at the time of the appearances, which brought many people back to their faith, and led to the conversion of many others.
The Lord also crowned the days of Pope Kirillos with the return of the holy body of St. Mark the Apostle from Venice in Italy to Egypt. It is now laid into the new Cathedral in Abbasia, which was also built by Pope Kirillos, and considered to be the largest Cathedral in the Middle East.
One of the greatest achievements of Pope Kirillos was the construction of St. Menas (Mari Mina) Monastery in Maryut near Alexandria. The Lord helped him build this monastery of this beloved saint and intercessor, through whom he performed thousands of miracles and solved may difficult problems.
On March 9, 1971 the Pope passed away. He was seated in white clothes, with his crown on his head, and was seated in his chair in the old cathedral. Approximately one million people came to cast as last look at their departed pope who loved them, and whom they loved. Today, the body of Pope Kirillos VI is laid in Mari Mina’s Monastery beside his beloved saint.
Tens of books were written to record the thousands of miracles and the numerous appearances by Pope Kirillos the Sixth before and after his departure.
May the blessing of this great Saint Pope Kirillos VI, and the intercession of the Wonder-worker Mari Mina be with us all. Amen.