Pope Tawadros joins Vatican in praying for peace in the Middle East
Pope Francis held an important ecumenical reflection and prayer with the heads and representatives of Christian churches and communities on the situation of Christians in Middle East.
Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II before the prayer for peace in the Middle East / Bari / July 7
Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria headed to Italy on Friday, where he joined the Vatican in Bari and prayed for peace in the Middle East.
During the Prayer meeting on Saturday, Pope Tawadros II held a prayer in Arabic in the name of victims who lost their lives during to the recent conflicts and wars in the region.
Picture: Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II after the prayer for peace in the Middle East / Bari / CC Vatican News / Youtube
“Lord, we pray to you, that your peace may be in our hearts. Remember, Lord, all the martyrs who died for your holy name. We ask you to give peace and tranquility to all areas of conflict in the Middle East.”
“We believe and confide that prayer represents the greatest power to take us out of any problem, resolve conflicts and illuminate our future in peace and reconciliation,” Tawadros told the Italian news agency Sir on July 4.
“Presenting ourselves together as heads of Churches to pray with one voice for all those who are fighting is a great encouragement to those who have lost hope, and it also fills our hearts with love and concern for others as we intercede for them,” he added.
Picture: Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II before the prayer for peace in the Middle East / Bari / CC Vatican News / Youtube
Pope Tawadros II and Patriarchs before meeting Pope Francis
During his stay in Italy, Tawadros will visit Saint Paul Apostle in Rome as well as several Egyptian churches in Rome and Milan.
CAIRO - 6 July 2018: Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Diocese headed to Italy on Friday on a papal visit that will last for few days. During his stay in Italy, the Pontiff is scheduled to attend a meeting with the heads of churches at the Province of Bari.
The head of the Vatican press office, Greg Burke, told journalists on Wednesday that the Pope intends to invite the heads of other churches and Christian communities in the region to the ecumenical encounter, according to Vatican News.
Nineteen heads of Churches or their representatives adhered to the call of Pope Francis in Bari on Saturday. Among the denominations are the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Churches, the Lutheran Church and the Middle East Council of Churches.
A statement from the press office said that the Pope is urging people to prepare for this meeting through prayer, recalling “the dramatic situation in the Middle East, which afflicts so many brothers and sisters in the faith.”
Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch told The Pilot that the Middle East plays a special role in promoting a path toward unity, given the region’s significance as the birthplace of Christianity.
CAIRO - 23 June 2018: Pope Tawadros of Egypt was received by The President of Lebanon Michel Aoun at the presidential resident Baabda Palace to inaugurate a patriarchal residence Friday, a few weeks before the Patriarch's Vatican visit.
Pope Tawadros visited the Vatican for the first time in May 2013, the second visit by an Egyptian Church delegation to the Vatican. Late Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III visited the Vatican in 1973.
Pope Francis visited Egypt on April on a two-day trip where he led a Holy Mass at the Air Defense Stadium in New Cairo. He met Pope Tawadros, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, urging leaders of all religions to denounce violence and acts of terror committed in God’s name.
Pope Francis leading a holy mass at the Air Defense Stadium in New Cairo on April 29, 2017 – Press photo
The visit in April marked the 70th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Egypt and the Holy See.
Pope Francis described Egypt as a land of cohabitation and hospitality. He added that it is a land of great history and civilization, passing on his blessing to Egyptians and praying for Egypt’s protection from all sorts of evil and terrorism.
A picture of Pope Francis as seen during mass in Cairo - Reuters - Amr Abdullah Dalash
Pope Francis greets Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb during a meeting at Cairo - Egypt April 28 - 2017 - REUTERS -Mohamed Abd El-Ghany
Pope Francis became the first Roman Catholic Pontiff to visit Egypt since Pope John Paul II in 2000.