03 May 2017

Pope Francis in Egypt as a pilgrim of peace

On April 28 and 29, Pope Francis traveled to Cairo, capital of Egypt, for his eighteenth international trip.

Actuality and events

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As a pilgrim of peace, Pope Francis traveled to Egypt, where two thousand years ago the Holy Family found shelter.

A land of martyrs and saints, but recently also a target of (terrorist) attacks ... Pope Francis brought consolation and encouragement to the Christian victims.

Live from Egypt, Father Mamdouh talked about this apostolic mission of Pope Francis.

Fr. MAMDOUH CHEHAB BASSILIOS, ofm
Superior of the Franciscan Convent of the Assumption of Most Holy Mary - Cairo
The Christian presence in Egypt is mostly Coptic and when I use the term coptic, I am referring to Orthodox Copts: those who were once called monophysite Copts. Now the term 'monophysite' has fallen into disuse; The term 'orthodox' is more common. The Orthodox Copts are in communion with the Patriarch of the Alexandrian Seat; they are not in communion with the Seat of Rome ... (...) instead, the Copts that are in communion with the Church of Rome bear the name of Catholic Copts. The latter presided over the reception of the Holy Father in Egypt ... "

The itinerary includes political encounters, such as that with President Al Sisi, but also interreligious meetings with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Tawadros II, with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch, Patriarch Ibrahim, and the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

The most intense moments of the trip were the International Peace Conference, the signing of the Joint Declaration between Pope Francis and Tawadros II and finally the Mass at the Air Force Stadium in Cairo, in which more than 25,000 people participated.

Fr. MAMDOUH CHEHAB BASSILIOS, ofm
Superior of the Franciscan Convent of the Assumption of Most Holy Mary - Cairo
"Certainly, the Mass celebrated at the Egyptian Air Force Stadium was the happiest, the most intense, the most anticipated and most popular, the most crowded event that the country witnessed during the 36 hours that the Holy Father spent in Egypt. I must say that, because of the Holy Father, the stadium turned into an open-air Church. Try to imagine this: we are a predominantly Islamic country ... when two or three people gather in a house for prayer in Upper Egypt, especially in Upper Egypt, someone usally disrupts the meeting or the people even get kicked out of the neighborhood because they prayed Christ in their churches. We are talking about, not 25, but 25,000 people in one stadium: this is a miracle, it is a great miracle!”

A great trip not only for Egypt ... but for the entire Middle East.