French President Emmanuel Macron met with Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria at Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassia District, Egypt. January 29, 2019. TV screenshot.
CAIRO - 29 January 2019: Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark received French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassia District.
The French president took photos with the Pope, bishops of the Holy Synod, and a group of priests, and signed his name in the Cathedral’s registry of VIP visitors.
The Pope said in his speech that Egypt has a long history and an ancient rich civilization having ancient Egyptian, Coptic, Islamic, Arab, African, and Mediterranean aspects.
“I am glad to welcome you in the headquarters of the Egyptian Coptic Church. In the name of the Holy Synod and all Coptic entities, we welcome you on the holy land of Egypt and that is blessed by the advent of the Holy Family,” the Pope said.
“The Egyptian francophonie constitutes a strong and unique cultural link between both our countries, and reflects their history, education, culture and language. In the heart of Paris lies the popular Egyptian obelisk. And here on Egyptian soil, there is the ‘Description of Egypt’ book written by French authors, and that became one of the most important references in Egyptian history. The book includes observations by French travelers who documented the rich Egyptian life and its civil, agricultural, and social aspects. All that determines the amount of cultural exchange between both countries. Also, a countless number of Egyptian writers reflected on their visits to France in their novels and literature,” the Pope added.
The Pope stated that he remembers a visit by French historian and Secretary General of French Museums Directorate Charles Personnaz to Wadi El Natrun Monastery few months ago. They discussed the necessity to develop Egyptian education and the role of school libraries, and to preserve the patrimony. They also talked about the possible help of France to register the archaeological sites that are part of the Holy Family’s trip to Egypt at the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The French President said that he was eager to visit the Orthodox Church out of respect for the values it represents for Egypt’s history and future. Macron hailed the efforts devoted by the Egyptian government to guarantee the security and protection of Coptic Christians.
“I wished to meet with Pope Tawadros given the importance of the Egyptian Copts to France...I know very well how Orthodox Christians suffered because of terrorism in the last years...However, we praise the work assumed by the Egyptian government to ensure their security,” Macron said stressing that promoting diversity in Egypt and the region would compose an essential element for peace.
The French president told the Pope, “I care to hear from you about your concerns and fears. Europe is going through a big moral crisis among others. I believe that crisis can be resolved by a dialogue among religions and I care to know your opinion on the matter.”
“The first combat in that realm is education development. That is what we do in our country,” Macron elaborated.