Egypt: 3 dead in viewing of embalmed Coptic Pope

Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

A woman reacts during the funeral of Pope Shenouda III at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

A woman reacts during the funeral of Pope Shenouda III at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. He was 88. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

The body of Pope Shenouda III seated on the throne of Mar Morqos, or St. Mark is seen during his funeral at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. He was 88. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

Coptic Christians wait in line to pay respects to the body of Pope Shenouda III at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

The body of Pope Shenouda III seated on the throne of Mar Morqos, or St. Mark, is seen during his funeral at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. He was 88. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Mideast Israel Egypt Coptic Pope

A picture of Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church is seen during a Sunday mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed by many Christians to be the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem's Old city, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday, aged 88. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

The body of Pope Shenouda III seated on the throne of Mar Morqos, or St. Mark, is seen during his funeral at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. He was 88. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Coptic Pope

The body of Pope Shenouda III seated on the throne of Mar Morqos or St. Mark, is seen during his funeral at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church who led Egypt's Christian minority for 40 years during a time of increasing tensions with Muslims, died Saturday. He was 88. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

An Egyptian church official says that three mourners have died of suffocation while paying their final respects to Egypt's Coptic Christian spiritual leader.
Church official Anba Younnes says the three died of suffocation inside Cairo's main Abbasiya cathedral as thousands of mourners gathered Sunday to catch a glimpse of Pope Shenouda's embalmed corpse.
The Coptic Pope, who was patriarch for four decades, died Saturday. He has been embalmed and was placed in a seated position on an ornate throne for mourners to see until his burial Tuesday.
Most of Egypt's 10 million Christians are Coptic Orthodox. The church is one of the oldest in the world, tracing its founding to St. Mark, who is said to have brought Christianity to Egypt in the 1st century.