Egypt's Pope Tawadros II to visit Vatican to mark 50 years of Coptic Orthodox-Catholic relations

Aya Salah , Monday 1 May 2023

Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St Mark, said on Monday he is scheduled to embark on a three-day visit to the Vatican City from 10 to 12 May and meet with Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, to mark 50 years of relations between the two churches.

Pope Tawadros II
Pope Tawadros II, the pope of Alexandria and the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Photo courtesy of The Spokesman of the Coptic Church.


The visit will be Pope Tawadros II's second to the Vatican, the first being in 2013.

 The 2013 visit was the second by the Egyptian Coptic Church to the Vatican State.

“The visit includes attending a general meeting with Pope Francis and delivering a brief speech on the history of the relationship between the two churches,” Pope Tawadros II stated in a video announcement.

The Rome agenda includes a meeting between the delegations of the two churches and an ecumenical prayer, not a liturgical one, to pray for peace, unity, and love in the world, Pope Tawadros II explained.

He stated the visit will not include signing agreements or holding mass.

During their meeting, the two popes will discuss the Church's role in addressing regional and international crises and world peace, including the Ukrainian and Sudanese crises.

The Egyptian pope said he is set to pay a pastoral visit to the Coptic people in Rome on 14-15 May, revealing that the “Catholic Church will grant [us] the Church of San Giovanni [Arcibasilica di San Giovanni] to pray with the Copts there according to our Coptic Orthodox rite, and we thank them for this [amicable gesture].”

In July 2018, Pope Tawadros II headed a Coptic Orthodox mass at Rome’s Basilica of Saint Paul, a day after participating in the Day of Prayer for the Middle East, which was organised by Pope Francis in the city of Bari, Italy.

In April 2017, during his first papal trip to Egypt since late Pope John Paul II visited Cairo in 2000, Pope Francis led a Holy Mass at the Air Defence Stadium in New Cairo and met with Pope Tawadros II, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb.

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