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Pope Francis arrives in Egypt on 18th apostolic visit

Edward Pentin‏
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The pontiff touches down in Cairo to begin a “Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace” apostolic visit

CAIRO — Pope Francis has arrived in Egypt for his 18th apostolic journey. The theme of the pope’s visit is: “Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace.”

The pope told journalists aboard the papal plane this morning that his visit to Egypt is one of “unity and fraternity.”

The papal plane touched down at at the Cairo international airport at 2:15pm local time, after a three-hour flight from Rome. Upon his arrival, the pope will be welcomed by a delegate of the President of the Republic, and the Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt, His Excellency Bruno Musarò.

Encouraging unity among Christians

Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Egypt will last only thirty hours. There, he intends to encourage unity among Christians; strengthen the faith of the small flock of Catholics in the country, and try to preach peace with Muslims, avoiding false steps on a journey with inevitable political implications.

During his first day in Cairo,  the pontiff will be welcomed at the presidential palace of Heliopolis for a private meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi. He will then go to the mosque-university of Al-Azhar, to meet the great Imam and deliver an address at a conference for peace organized by this institution of Sunni Islam.

After a meeting with the political and civil authorities of the country, the pope will travel to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate to meet with Patriarch Tawadros II before an ecumenical prayer service and a tribute for the Copts killed in an attack last December.

In the papal entourage, on the Egyptian side, are Msgr. Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, Patriarch of the Catholic Copts, Msgr. Musarò, Apostolic Nuncio, and Bishop Emmanuel Bishay of Luxor and coordinator of the visit.

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