Pope meets Pope for the first time in 40 years
On Saturday 10 May, the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros came to Rome for a historical meeting with Pope Francis I. The occasion marked the beginning of a fruitful journey of dialogue and 'brotherly love' between the two Churches. Both leaders commended each other's work and zeal for greater understanding and unity among Christians; a unity which was further strengthened by this momentus meeting. Zenit has more on the story:
This is the first time in 40 years that a Coptic Pope has met with the Pope of Rome. On May 1973. Pope Shenouda III met with Pope Paul VI and signed an an important Christological Declaration in common and initiated bilateral ecumenical dialogue between the two Churches.
In his address to Pope Francis, Pope Tawadros II regarded the meeting as “an unforgettable occasion”, since it marks the anniversary of their respective predecessor’s meeting.
“May this visit of love and brotherhood be the first of a long series between our two great Churches. Therefore, I propose that the 10th of May of each year should be considered as a celebration of brotherly love between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church,” the Pope of Alexandria said.
Emphasizing the relationship between the Church of Rome and the Church of Egypt over the centuries, Pope Tawadros expressed his gratitude for the shared communion between the two churches.
“Both Churches, the Catholic and the Coptic, have always worked together, in the Middle East and in the Western World, to make peace prevail. The most important aim for both is the promotion of ecumenical dialogue in order to get to the most pursued goal: unity,” the Coptic pope said.
Concluding his address, the Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark conveyed his hope that Pope Francis may soon visit Egypt. “The entire Coptic Church, the religious communities and the Egyptian people express their utmost joy and delight to Your Holiness,” Pope Tawadros said.
Pope Francis regarded the meeting between the two as a “truly graced moment” and welcomed the Coptic Pope with “deep affection.”