The funeral service of Coptic Pope Shenouda III has drawn thousands of Egypt's minority Coptic Christians.

The service for the 88-year-old spiritual leader, who died on 17 March, took place at St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo.

Crowds of mourners spilled out into the streets outside the cathedral.

Shenouda's body was dressed in robes and a gold crown and lay in an open coffin. Clerics, deacons and patriarchs of Orthodox churches said prayers for him as they gathered around his casket in a day of national mourning.

Shenouda's body has been taken to Wadi al-Natrun monastery to be buried in the desert northwest of Cairo.

Shenouda was head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the world's oldest Christian denominations, for 40 years.

His death leaves an uncertain future for the millions of Copts in Egypt in a predominately Muslim country. The complex procedure to find a successor has begun and could take months.

Pope Shenouda III's Death: Copts and Egypt Fear for the Future