The 112th patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (1874-1927). He was born at the village of Tizmant in Bani Suef Province, in 1824, and was known as Hanna al-Nasikh (the calligrapher) because of his beautiful handwriting. At the age of twenty he entered DAYR AL- BARAMUS in Wadi al-Natrun. He was elevated to the priesthood and ultimately became abbot of his monastery. DEMETRIUS II appointed him HEGUMENOS at the Cairo Cathedral, but, at the request of his fellow monks in his old monastery, Cyril was allowed to return to the Baramus monastery.
After Demetrius’ death the papal seat remained vacant for five years. Eventually, Hanna was chosen for the position and was enthroned on 1 November 1874.
During the interregnum Vicar General Metropolitan Murqus of Beheirah province, who aspired to occupy the papal seat, drew up a plan for the establishment of the COMMUNITY COUNCIL to assist the clergy in conducting church affairs. At the outset, the new patriarch functioned harmoniously in cooperation with the council, but it was not long before a rift developed not only between the clergy and the secular party but also between the members of the council.
In 1883, under the chairmanship of BOUTROS GHALI the laity obtained a khedivial decree to have the council established by law. The patriarch became more and more dissatisfied with it, and its meetings were eventually suspended. It met again in 1891, but did not continue for long. A third council was formed in 1892, but the gap had grown wider between the two sides, which led the council to ask the government to have the patriarch removed to al-Baramus monastery.
The council then elected the bishop of Sanabu as papal deputy. The patriarch excommunicated the said bishop. The bulk of the people were thus divided, and some of them even kept away from churches. Petitions continued to be sent to the government; and when a new cabinet was formed, the council finally agreed that their wisest course was to submit to the patriarch and ask for his recall. Cyril V returned to Cairo in a triumphal procession, with huge numbers of cheering Muslims and Christians to welcome him back.
The council was consequently dissolved and a four-member committee was formed by the patriarch, but before long it was abolished, and the fourth council was formed in 1906. It continued to discharge its duties until 1912 when its jurisdiction was redefined and curtailed. Its powers were restored in 1927 when the patriarch died, at the age of 103, after having occupied the papal seat for almost fifty-three years.
During his pontificate the CLERICAL COLLEGE was established in Cairo in 1894. Also operated were a school for boys in Alexandria, the Tawfiq schools in Cairo, the ‘Abbasiyyah Coptic College for Girls, as well as churches, hospitals, and benevolent societies. He paid two visits to the Sudan, in 1904 and 1909, during which he established the Khartoum bishopric and church.
He had good relations with the khedive of Egypt, the sultan of Turkey, the emperors of Ethiopia, and the czar of Russia, by all of whom he was awarded the highest official decorations. He was also appointed member of the National Legislative Assembly. By virtue of his long life he was contemporaneous with all the members of the MUHAMMAD ‘ALI DYNASTY from its founder down to King Fouad.