Pope Francis makes Apostolic Visit to Egypt

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Pope Francis in EgyptHis Holiness Pope Francis will be travelling to Egypt, April 28-29, 2017, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; His Holiness Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church; Sheik Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University; and His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria. The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Mr. Gregory Joseph Burke, has remarked that the visit has a threefold purpose: a pastoral dimension directed to the local Catholic Churches; an ecumenical dimension, to be in solidarity with the broader Christian communities, focusing particularly on the Coptic Orthodox Church; and an inter-religious dimension, to dialogue with the Muslim people of Egypt.

Commenting on his upcoming Apostolic Visit, Pope Francis stated in his video message to the people of Egypt, "I would like this visit to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place."

Pope Francis will be joined by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew I, on April 28 when they will be received by Sheik Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb at the Al-Azhar University. There, the three religious leaders will address an international peace conference which is being hosted and coordinated by the university, which is the main centre for Islamic learning in the world for Sunni Muslims.

The Apostolic Visit follows the tragic terrorist attacks on Palm Sunday this year when bombs exploded in two Coptic Orthodox churches. Reflecting on these events, Pope Francis remarked, "Our world is torn by blind violence, a violence that has also struck the heart of your beloved land. Our world needs peace, love and mercy. It needs peacemakers, people who are free and who set others free, men and women of courage who can learn from the past in order to build the future, free of every form of prejudice. Our world needs people who can build bridges of peace, dialogue, fraternity, justice and humanity."

This is the second time that the head of the universal Catholic Church has made an Apostolic Visit to Egypt. Saint Pope John Paul II visited the country in 2000. Catholics in Egypt make up less than one percent of the Egyptian population, numbering about 200,000 out of a total population of 91.5 million. They are members of seven Catholic Churches: the Coptic, Melkite, Maronite, Syriac, Armenian, Chaldean, and Latin.

Link to Pope Francis' Message

Link to the schedule of Salt + Light TV on Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Egypt 

Last Updated on Thursday, April 27 2017  
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