In the face of blatant attacks by Muslims on churches, clergy, and parishoners of the Coptic faith, the challenges facing Pope Tawadros II, formerly enthroned today as the Copts new spiritual leader, are probably beyond his capacity alone to deal with.
The 60-year-old succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after four decades on the patriarchal throne.
The enthronement comes at an uncertain time for Egypt's Christians, following the fall of Hosni Mubarak last year.
Sectarian attacks against Coptic Christians and churches in Egypt have increased since his fall, and many Christians are concerned about the rise of Islamist political forces.
Christians make up 5-10% of Egypt's majority Sunni Muslim population and form the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.
Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Mursi did not attend Sunday's enthronement, though Prime Minister Hisham Qandil was there.
President Morsi promised tolerance and respect for all faiths in Egypt after he was elected, but that pledge has been honored in the breach. If anything, pressure on Egypt's Copts has increased and tens of thousands are fleeing Egypt rather than live among Muslims extremists who take any opportunity to attack them.
Pope Tawadros will probably keep a low profile, doing most of his lobbying behind the scenes. It would have been helpful if Morsi had attended the ceremony, but perhaps the presence of his prime minister says something positive about authorities being more proactive in protecting their citizens who happen to be Christian.