Although the Pope in Rome is the head of the Catholic Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church is an entirely separate faith founded by Saint Mark in the 1st century CE. The head of the Coptic Church is the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark, a figure who leads a worldwide congregation of over 18 million. Based mainly in Egypt, the Coptic Church observes different practices and uses its own version of the Bible. One of the most intriguing traditions of the church is the method by which it selects each new Pope. Instead of an outright election, the successful candidate is chosen at random by a blindfolded child. This ‘Holy Altar Lottery’ is used, as it is believed that divine intervention determines the outcome.
A blindfolded altar boy selects a name at random to decide the next Coptic Pope in 2012