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Pope Francis to meet Pope Tawadros II


Vatican City, 09 May 2013: The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II will meet Pope Francis on Friday. The Pope of Alexandria is in Rome from 9 to 13 May. Tawadros II, Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, on his first day visited St. Peter’s Basilica and Necropolis. On Friday, before meeting Pope Francis, Tawadros II will meet with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In the evening he will meet with the Mayor of Rome and will visit the Colosseum. On Saturday the Patriarch will visit the Vatican Museum and later meet with the Coptic faithful in the Coptic Orthodox parish at Tiburtina. He will celebrate Liturgy at the Coptic Orthodox church in Laurentina on Sunday, and will visit St. Paul’s Basilica. On the last leg of his 5-day visit, Tawadros II will celebrate Liturgy in the parish of transfiguration and later meet with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria includes about ten million faithful. They are a leading player in the ecclesial landscape of the Middle East. The new climate of openness and cooperation that has developed in recent months between the various Christian communities in Egypt led to the establishment of a Council of Christian Churches in Egypt.
The birth of the Church in Egypt is closely associated with S. Mark the Evangelist who, according to tradition, suffered martyrdom in Alexandria in 63. Later, Egypt became a Christian country and Alexandria a center of theological reflection. The monks of the Egyptian desert offered the first models for the Christian monastic tradition, inspired by the spirituality of the early "desert fathers".

Following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has initiated a bilateral dialogue with each of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. These bilateral dialogues have proven its effectiveness with the publication of a long series of joint statements related to the Christology, ecclesiology and the theology of the sacraments.

In this context, a joint commission for bilateral dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church was established in 1973. In 2003 further step was taken in relations between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches with the establishment of a new International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches as a whole. This Commission is composed of 14 representatives and 14 representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Catholics.

Pope Tawadros II was enthroned 118th Pope of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark on 19 November 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo, Egypt.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, accompanied by Father Gabriel Quicke, Official of the Pontifical Council, attended the ceremony and Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to the Coptic Patriarch on the occasion.

The Coptic Orthodox community in Italy is divided into two dioceses, that of Milan, ruled by the Bishop Amba Kyrillos, with about 14,000 faithful and Turin based in Rome, ruled by the Bishop Barnaba el Soryany, with about 5,000 members. Almost all the faithful are immigrants looking for a better life.Source: VR Sedoc