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October 22, 2014
Friday, May 10, 2013

Pope Francis, Egypt's Coptic leader meet, pray for communities reconciliation

Pope Francis and the Coptic Orthodox leader Tawadros II exchange gifts during a private audience in the pontiff''s library.
At the Vatican today not one, not two, but three popes were inside the tiny city-state's walls at the same time.

Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Catholic Pope Francis, each addressing the other as "Your Holiness", prayed together for reconciliation among communities and nations without mention of events in Egypt. Tawadros has previously denounced a wave of anti-Christian attacks there.

A short walk from where they met in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is living out his retirement in a convent in the Vatican gardens. There were no plans for Tawadros, making his first trip outside Egypt since his election in November, to meet Benedict.

The tall, black-robed Tawadros is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the largest Christian Church in Egypt. He is only the second Coptic pope in history to visit the Vatican.

In their public speeches, neither Francis, 76, nor Tawadros, 60, made direct mention of the recent sectarian violence in Egypt between majority Muslims and Christians, who make up about 15 percent of Egypt's population of 84 million.

Francis spoke of an "ecumenism of suffering" among Christians and in joint prayers afterwards in a Vatican chapel both leaders heard a prayer for "all countries and communities which are victims of conflict and violence" and for "peace and harmony without discrimination and injustice".

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Tags:  Francis  Vatican  Egypt  Tawadros  





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