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Pope Francis prays for 'full unity' with Copts

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/May-10/216600-pope-francis-prays-for-full-unity-with-copts.ashx#axzz2SvCCNtDJ Pope Francis prays for full
    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2013

      Pope Francis prays for 'full unity' with Copts
      May 10, 2013

      VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Friday prayed for "full unity" with the
      Coptic Orthodox Church as he received Patriarch of Alexandria Tawadros
      II for an historic visit in the latest sign of closer ties between the
      Catholic and Orthodox worlds.

      "Our persevering prayer, our dialogue and the will to build communion
      day by day in mutual love will allow us to take important further steps
      towards full unity," Francis told Coptic Orthodox leader Tawadros at
      their meeting in the Vatican.

      "We long for the day when, in fulfilment of the Lord's desire, we will
      be able to communicate from the one chalice," he said, acknowledging
      that there had been "centuries of mutual distrust" between their two
      Christian churches.

      This was the first such meeting in 40 years.

      Tawadros' predecessor Shenouda III visited the Vatican in 1973 to meet
      pope Paul VI and the two had launched a process of dialogue between
      Catholics and Copts and pope John Paul II also visited Shenouda in Egypt
      in 2000.

      Francis spoke of "an ecumenism of suffering".

      "Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility
      for the Church, so too the sharing of daily sufferings can become an
      effective instrument of unity," he said.

      "And this also applies, in a certain sense, to the broader context of
      society and relations between Christians and non-Christians: from shared
      suffering can blossom forth forgiveness and reconciliation, with God's
      help," he added.

      The four-day visit was the high-point of a tour of Europe by Tawadros,
      who was elected in November 2012 as leader of a Christian Church faced
      with the rise of radical Islam and growing emigration.

      Copts account for up to 10 percent of the population in Egypt, where
      tensions and clashes with the majority Muslim population have increased
      since the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime in 2011.

      Copts have been critical of President Mohamed Morsi's leadership and of
      a new constitution seen as favourable to Islamists. Clashes between
      Copts and Muslims have left dozens dead in Egypt.

      The spiritual leader of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians, the
      Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew I, attended the pope's inauguration in
      March in an important gesture of rapprochement.

      Catholic and Orthodox churches split in 1054.

      Read more:
      (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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