Pope Tawadros II, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark. inaugurated Virgin Mary Cathedral in Bashayer El Khair 3 in Qabari district in Alexandria on Thursday- Youm7
ROME, May 10 (MENA) - Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of St. Mark Diocese delivered an address at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City Wednesday, marking 50 years of relations between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Francis was joined at his weekly General Audience by Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, for a special joint greeting to the faithful.
The pair exchanged greetings, and Pope Tawadros addressed the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square, the first time the head of another Church has done so.
“Beloved brother, His Holiness Pope Francis,” said Pope Tawadros, “Christ is risen, He is truly risen!”
The Coptic Orthodox leader recalled his last visit to St Peter’s Square, ten years ago.
“I look at this place,” he said, “and I go back in my memory to ten years ago, on this same date, and I remember your dear affection in welcoming me, together with the delegation of the Coptic Church.”
Pope Tawadros recalled that, on that occasion, on 10 May 2013, he had suggested that the date be celebrated as a ‘Day of Coptic-Catholic Friendship’ every year.
Since then, he said, he and Pope Francis have spoken on the phone on 10 May each year.
The Coptic Orthodox leader went on to thank Pope Francis for his visit to Egypt in 2017, recalling that the country – where his Church is based – has ancient Christian roots, and was the land in which monasticism was born.
“Despite the differences in our roots and affiliations,” he said, “we are united by the love of Christ who dwells within us, and the host of our Apostolic Fathers and saints who surrounds and guides us.”
“It is with great joy”, said Pope Francis, “that I greet today His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark.”
“Dear friend and brother Tawadros,” he continued in his greetings to the faithful, “I thank you for accepting my invitation on this double anniversary, and I pray that the light of the Holy Spirit might illuminate your visit to Rome.”
“I thank you from the heart, for your commitment to the growing friendship between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church," added the Pope.
Laying aside his prepared remarks for a moment, he looked over to Pope Tawadros, joking that although the pair speak every year on the phone, “we remain good brothers, and we haven’t fought!”
Pope Francis concluded his address by speaking to the Coptic bishops and faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square.
“Together with you," he said, "I implore Almighty God, that, through the intercession of the saints and martyrs of the Coptic Church, He might help us to grow in communion.”
Pope Tawadros II visited Tuesday the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle (St. Peter's Basilica) at the start of his current trip to The Vatican City.
He was accompanied by Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity Cardinal Kurt Koch, along with a host of other senior clergymen representing the Catholic Church, receiving a very warm welcome from The Vatican officials.
Pope Tawadros II had arrived at Rome International Airport for a historic visit to Vatican City.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of a joint statement in 1973 in Vatican City by Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III.
This is Pope Tawadros’ second visit to The Vatican as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church since 2013.