Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox church (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II will embark on a trip to the Vatican on Thursday, marking the first such visit by a Coptic Orthodox leader in 40 years.
Tawadros' predecessor, Shenouda III, met with Pope Paul VI in 1973 and the two launched a process of dialogue between their respective churches.
Thursday's visit, which is set to last for six days, will be Pope Tawadros' first trip abroad since his assumption of the Coptic Orthodox papacy in November of last year.
Pope Tawadros is set to meet with recently-elected Catholic Pope Francis on Friday.
The meeting between the two popes will aim to foster greater dialogue between Catholic and Coptic Christians.
Catholics number 250,000 among majority-Copt 10 million Egyptian Christians.