Pope Tawadros II received by Ambassador Rady as he arrives at Rome Airport to begin Vatican Visit (Photo Courtesy of Orthodox Church)
Pope Tawadros II was received by Egypt's Ambassador to the Vatican Mahmoud Talaat and Egypt's Ambassador to Italy Bassam Rady, along with the Secretary of the Dicaster for the Promotion of Christian Unity Mons. Brian Farrell.
During his visit, Tawadros will attend the weekly public hearing by Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, that will be held in the Paul VI hall, according to a statement released by the Coptic Orthodox Church.
The hearing coincides with the 50th anniversary if the release of a joint statement in 1973 in Vatican City by Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III in the first such meeting in over 1,000 years.
Additionally, delegations of the two churches will perform an ecumenical prayer for peace, unity, and love in the world, according to the statement.
This is Tawadros’ second visit to the Vatican as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, having visited the Vatican in 2013 shortly after assuming the helm.
In statements to Al-Ahram, Ambassador Rady explained that Pope Tawadros II will also meet privately with Pope Francis, which will be the fourth meeting between the two pontiffs, at the St. Giovanni Church in Rome.
Pope Tawadros II will deliver a speech about the relationship between the two churches, according to the Coptic Orthodox Church’s statement.
During his visit, Pope Tawadros II is also scheduled to meet with a number of Italian officials at the Egyptian embassy in Rome.
"Pope Tawadros is considered one of Egypt's national symbols who is respected by all Egyptians. He is the author of the timeless historic quote, 'A homeland without churches is better than churches without a homeland,' during a time when Egypt was facing extremely delicate and unprecedented circumstances in its modern history," Rady stated.
Tawadros’ quote cited by Rady was made in 2013 after a number of churches across Egypt were attacked and burned by terrorists.