This blog offers an Australian perspective on faith, religion and spirituality. It invites you to join the joys and hope, the grief and anguish of a middle aged Aussie Catholic.
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Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Tawadros meets Francis
Vatican City, 8 May 2013 (VIS) - From 9 to 13 May, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, will come to Rome to meet with His Holiness Pope Francis. As Reuters notes this will create the never before moment of three Popes in the walls of the Vatican. The average Catholic and their neighbours are probably still recovering from the shock of discovering that Rome isn't the only Church that calls its leader Pope.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt has about ten million faithful. This large membership makes the Coptic Church one of the most important elements in the ecclesial landscape of the Middle East where, in recent times, Christian communities are having to deal with very difficult situations.
Pope Tawadros’ predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, met with Pope Paul VI in the Vatican 40 years ago in May of 1973. On that occasion, the Pope and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch signed an important Christological Declaration in common and initiated bilateral ecumenical dialogue between the two Churches.
The joint communique issued by Paul Vl and the head of the Coptic Church in 1973 said:
"In accordance with our apostolic traditions transmitted to our Churches and preserved therein, and in conformity with the early three ecumenical councils, we confess one faith in the One Triune God, the divinity of the Only Begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word, of God, the effulgence of His glory and the express image of His substance, who for us was incarnate, assuming for Himself a real body with a rational soul, and who shared with us our humanity, but without sin. We confess that our Lord and God and Savior and King of us all, Jesus Christ, is perfect God with respect to His Divinity, perfect man with respect of His humanity. In Him His divinity is united with His humanity in a real and perfect union without mingling, without confusion, without alteration, without division, without separation. His divinity did not separate from His humanity for an instant, not for the twinkling of an eye. He who is God eternal and invisible, became visible in the flesh, and took upon Himself the form of a servant. In Him are preserved all the properties of the divinity and all the properties of the humanity, together in a real, perfect, indivisible and inseparable union.
We venerate the Virgin Mary, Mother of the True Light, and we confess that she is ever Virgin, the God-bearer, she intercedes for us, and, as the Theotokos, excels in her dignity all angelic hosts."
Since the election of Pope Tawadros II as the new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, there has been a growing rapprochement between the Christian communities in Egypt. This has led to the establishment of a council of Christian Churches in Egypt.
Pope Tawadros, as well as having an audience and a shared prayer with the Holy Father on Friday, 10 May, will be received at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and other dicasteries of the Roman Curia. He will visit the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and will meet with the faithful of the Coptic community resident in Rome.
Vatican News carries he full text of Pope Francis' address to Pope Tawadros and his delegation: