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Monday, 18 November 2019

Egypt's Pope Tawadros II in first visit to Jerusalem by Coptic pope since 1967

Coptic Orthodox Church says the pope's visit is 'exceptional' to honour the late Bishop Abraham, not a reversal of its ban on pilgrimages to Jerusalem

Marina Barsoum , Thursday 26 Nov 2015
Pope Tawadros II
Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox church (Photo: Reuters)
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Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II made an “exceptional” trip on Thursday to Jerusalem through Tel Aviv to head the funeral prayer for Metropolitan Archbishop Abraham of Jerusalem and the Near East.

The visit marks the first by a Coptic pope to the Holy Land since 1967.

Metropolitan Archbishop Abraham, considered to be the second most important figure following the Pope in the Coptic Holy Synod, passed away on Wednesday. He headed the small Coptic diocese in Jersusalem.

The late Pope Shenouda III issued a papal ban on pilgrimages to Israel in 1979, a policy that remains in place today as a clear stance against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem.

Spokesperson of the Coptic Orthodox Church Father Boules Halim told Ahram Online that this is an "exceptional situation," stressing that the stance of the Coptic Orthodox Church on visiting Jerusalem has not changed.

"The stance of the Coptic Orthdox Church concerning travelling to the Holy Lands will always remain the same. The pope's visit came as an exception," says Halim.

According to Halim, Tawadros II will not make any visits while in Jerusalem, and he will return to Cairo immediately following the funeral prayers.

Late Pope Shenouda III was staunchly anti-Zionist and opposed the normalisation of relations with Israel, in the name of Arab nationalism. Shenouda, who passed away in 2012, never paid a visit to the Holy Land during his 41 years as head of the Coptic church.

However, 2015 has witnessed an increase in the numbers of Coptic pilgrims to Jerusalem during Easter week, despite the church's travel ban.

There are no official travel restrictions in place for Egyptian citizens travelling to Israel.

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Sami
27-11-2015 05:14pm
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7+
A courageous man under criticism
A harmless visit is being criticised some. He has courage.
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expat
26-11-2015 08:21pm
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7+
there is only 1!
Jesus,only 1! message of peace,only 1! person sacrifying himself for the sins of others... IF all christian tribes and churches would re-unite,the other people,which think,that the message of the sword from arabia would be a good idea to follow,would start to double think! because we dont ban science,we dont want to dominate,but help the poor and neglected Jesus had the biggest message to the world,but got misunderstood by the churches completly
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