The Coptic Orthodox Leader, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, will visit the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin today, Thursday 18 May. It is the first time that Pope Tawadros, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, has visited Ireland as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church whose membership remains predominantly in Egypt.
Last month, Pope Francis visited Cairo at the invitation of Pope Tawadros and the grand imam of the mosque of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, as well as Catholic Bishops and the Egyptian government. Coptic Christians currently represent 80% of Christians in the Middle East. Following a meeting between Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros in Egypt, a new common declaration was issued. It emphasised the need for intensified prayers for all Christians who are persecuted and killed for their faith, especially in Egypt and the Middle East. The declaration from Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros also called for a deepening of their shared roots in faith through common prayer, a common translation of the Lord’s Prayer and a common date for the celebration of Easter.
In a letter to Pope Tawadros published on Wednesday 10 May, to mark the day of friendship between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said “I assure Your Holiness of my continued prayers for you, and for peace in Egypt and the Middle East. In this Easter season I pray that the Holy Spirit, the strength and tenderness of God, may fill our hearts with his grace and kindle in them the fire of his love. May the Spirit of peace bestow on us an increase of hope, friendship and harmony.
Before arriving in Ireland, Pope Tawadros completed a visit to the UK visiting Coptic Orthodox parishes, officiating liturgical services and attending a number of ecumenical, interfaith and civic events. On Tuesday last, he met with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor castle.
Following his visit to Archbishop Martin tomorrow morning, Pope Tawadros will travel to Áras an Úachtaráin where President Michael D. Higgins will meet him.