Nazeer Gayed Roufail was born on 3 August 1923 in Asyut, Upper Egypt, he was the youngest of a family of eight children. Nazeer's mother died shortly after his birth. By the age of 16, Gayed was active in the Coptic Sunday School movement. He was very active in his church and served as a Sunday School teacher, first at Saint Anthony's Church in Shoubra and then at Saint Mary's Church in Mahmasha.
Pope Shenouda III was an officer in the Egyptian army in year 1947. He served in the Egyptian army for 3 years as Reserve officer. He was very patriotic to his country Egypt.
After graduating from Cairo University with a degree in history, he worked as a high school English and Social Studies teacher in Cairo by day, and attended classes at the Coptic Theological Seminary by night. Upon graduation from the seminary in 1949, he was chosen to teach New Testament studies
On 18 July 1954, Nazeer joined the monastic life at the Syrian Monastery in Scetes; he was given the name of Father Antonios el-Syriani (Anthony the Syrian). From 1956 to 1962, he lived as a hermit in a cave about seven miles from the monastery, dedicating his time to meditation, prayer, and asceticism. Later, at the Syrian Monastery, he was ordained a priest. Antonios el-Syriani was among the candidates nominated for the papal throne in 1959, but Pope Cyril VI was ultimately chosen for the post
On 30 September 1962, Pope Cyril VI appointed him to the bishopric of Christian Education and as Dean of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary, naming him Shenouda. The relevance of the name emanates from the fact that the most renowned scholar and writer in Coptic was Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite.
He was enthroned as Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark on 14 November 1971, nearly nine months after the death of Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria. The ceremony was the first and, as yet, the only enthroning of a Coptic Pope to take place in the new Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo
In the months prior to the Pope's death, rumours had spread through Cairo’s Coptic community that he had fallen into a coma. The Holy Synod denied these reports. He regularly flew to the United States for medical treatment and, according to his doctor, Dr. Sherif Doss, he "[suffered] from kidney disease and diabetes.
Pope Shenouda III departed to Heaven on 17 March, 2012. he had been in good spirits prior to his death. The funeral took place following three days of laying in state . On 20 March, he was buried at the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi el-Natrun, in accordance with his wishes.