Tag Archives: Pope Shenouda III

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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Coptic Church celebrates the Lord’s nativity amid tragedy, oppression

Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Cathedral in Cairo Jan. 7, 2010.jpgThe Coptic Church, along with other non-Chalcedonian churches, are celebrating Christmas today. Besides some Christological differences, the Copts (the Egyptian Orthodox Christians; there are Coptic Catholics, too!) follow the Julian calendar which is a number of days behind the Gregorian calendar. About 10% of the Egyptians are Christian.

In this season of Christian-killing by fanatical muslims, truly a season of martyrdom, let us pray for the Copts and give thanks for their witness to Christ. Blessings to Pope Shenouda III. Merry Christmas.

Ahmed al-Tayeb criticizes Benedict for interfering in Egypt; AND a response given

Jesuit Father
Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, responded to what I
believe is unfair, even bigoted criticism of Pope Benedict by Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Egypt
following the January 1st bombing of a Coptic Orthodox church. 21 dead and
nearly a 100 wounded. Clear it is to me, the Muslim world rarely pays close attention to what the Catholic Church believes and what the Pope says.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, current current Imam of al-Azhar Mosque,
condemned the bombing. The imam paid a visit to the head of the Coptic Orthodox
Church, Pope Shenouda III to offer condolences. But his good will toward the
Christians however, also include a strident criticism Pope Benedict who asked civil
authorities to protect Christians. In Al-Tayeb’s mind the Pope’s request was an
“unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.” Further, said al-Tayeb, “I
disagree with the Pope’s view, and I ask why did the Pope not call for the
protection of Muslims when they were subjected to killings in Iraq?”

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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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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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