Tag Archives: Egypt

Popes of Rome and Alexandria meet: Francis and Tawadros

Rome and Alexandria popes.jpg

A rare meeting between two Popes, that is, between the Patriarch of the West and the Patriarch of Alexandria happened earlier today in Rome when Pope Francis received Pope Tawadros of Alexandria, who heads the largest Christian Church in the Middle East. The first meeting between the two churches happened 40 years ago to the day with the Servant of God Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III; at that meeting a Christological agreement was signed and a hope expressed to find a path to unity. Tawadros is on his first pilgrimage outside of Egypt since becoming the head of the Coptic Church in November. He is in Italy for 5 days. 

Pope Tawadros proposed that 10 May each year should be marked as a day of celebration between the two churches. He also invited Francis to visit his Church, founded by Saint Mark the Evangelist around the middle of the First century.

Here is Pope Francis’ address:

For me it is a great joy and a truly graced moment to be able to receive all of you here, at the tomb of Saint Peter, as we recall that historic meeting forty years ago between our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and the late Pope Shenouda III, in an embrace of peace and fraternity, after centuries of mutual distrust. So it is with deep affection that I welcome Your Holiness and the distinguished members of your delegation, and I thank you for your words. Through you, I extend my cordial greetings in the Lord to the bishops, the clergy, the monks and the whole Coptic Orthodox Church.

Today’s visit strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that already exist between the See of Peter and the See of Mark, heir to an inestimable heritage of martyrs, theologians, holy monks and faithful disciples of Christ, who have borne witness to the Gospel from generation to generation, often in situations of great adversity.

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Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, dead at 88

Pope Shenouda on throne dead.jpg

On Saturday, 17
March 2012, Pope Shenouda III, the 117th head of the Coptic Christians died.
Shenouda was the successor of Saint Mark. He led his Church since November

UK’s Mail Online has a story of
Pope Shenouda
with other photos here. Plus, the Washington Post has an article to

Pope Benedict XVI sent this note of condolence to the Coptic

On learning of the sad departure to God, our common Father, of His
Holiness Shenouda III, Patriarch of Alexandria on the See of Saint Mark the
Evangelist, I wish to express to the members of the Holy Synod, to the priests
and all the faithful of all the Patriarchate, my most sincere brotherly
compassion. I recall with gratitude his commitment to Christian Unity, his
memorable visit to my predecessor Pope Paul VI, and their signing of the Joint
Declaration of Faith in the Incarnation of the Son of God together in Rome, on
May 10, 1973, as well as his Cairo meeting with Pope John Paul II during the
Great Jubilee of the Incarnation, on February24, 2000. I can say how the
Catholic Church as a whole shares the grief that afflicts the Orthodox Copts,
and how she stands in fervent prayer asking that He, who is who is the
Resurrection and the Life, might welcome his faithful servant. May the God of
all mercy receive Pope Shenouda in His joy, His peace and light.

When I met Pope Shenouda in St Louis, Missouri in 1994, it was a very interesting experience all around. May God be merciful to him and Saint Mark his steps to paradise.

The photo
above is of Pope Shenouda sitting on his throne one last time before burial.
Perhaps the Roman bishops would like to adopt this practice.

Egypt leads the way to political overhaul

Official photograph of Egyptian President Hosn...

Image via Wikipedia

AsiaNews.it published this editorial today where the writer highlights some middle eastern countries. I recommend it. Interesting to note is the comment made by Syria president Bashir al-Assad who spoke with the Wall Street Journal calling the political upending a “kind of disease” due to political and economic stagnation.

The one million people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) square are forcing the hand of Hosni Mubarak, 82, to leave office by Friday after what some have called a soft dictatorship for the past 30 years. He’s the 4th and current president of the Egyptian Republic. It won’t belong now before the many oppressive regimes around the world are taken down. Who’s next? Cuba, China, Iran?
Saint Menas, pray for Egypt, and for all of us.
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Egypt’s civil & religious leaders condemn attack

The various news agencies are reporting that Egypt’s civil and religious leaders are condemning the New Year’s Eve suicide bombing of a Coptic Church which killed 21 people and wounded a reported 100 others. The attack happened with 30 minutes of 2011.

Pope Shenouda III joined with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and the Egyptian government’s Minister for Religious Affairs, Mahmud Hamdi Zaqzuq at a press conference condemning the attack.

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Egyptian fanatical Muslims offend God, Pope says

“An offense
against God and all humanity,” Pope Benedict XVI told those gathered in St Peter’s Square for the praying of the Angelus and an address in which he described the
New Year’s eve bombing of a Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt. There’s been a consistent campaign to terrorize and kill Christians in Arab nations. This was the latest round of Muslim attacks.

The Pope said “Yesterday morning we learned with sorrow the
news of the serious attack against the Coptic Christian community in
Alexandria, Egypt. This vile act of death, such as planting bombs close to the
homes of Christians in Iraq to force them to leave, offends God and all
humanity, who only yesterday prayed for peace and began the New Year with

The Holy Father appealed for Christians to recall the Gospel
teachings of non-violence: “Before this strategy of violence that has targeted
Christians, and has consequences for the whole population, I pray for the
victims and family members, and encourage church communities to persevere in
faith and witness to non-violence that comes from the Gospel”. 

“Today we
continue to contemplate the divine mystery of Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem
of the Virgin Mary. He is the Word of God made flesh for our salvation, the
Wisdom of God who has come to enlighten us. Let us always cherish this presence
of Jesus who brings us grace and truth! I wish you all a pleasant Sunday and
renew my good wishes for a Happy New Year!”

… as Christians “we remain united
in Christ, our hope and our peace!”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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