Catholic, Orthodox Coptic popes supply joint Vatican blessing Lalrp QAXIGYXPDYI63NT5UIM6YXP5GA

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and the Orthodox Coptic pope, Tawadros II, delivered a joint blessing Wednesday from St. Peter’s Sq. in a major ecumenical gesture to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of a historic assembly of their predecessors.

Tawadros, the Orthodox Coptic patriarch of Alexandria, in Egypt, joined Francis on the stage for everything of Francis’ weekly basic viewers. He delivered a prolonged speech in the beginning in Arabic after which joined Francis in blessing the gang on the finish on a wet Wednesday morning.

In welcoming Tawadros to the Vatican, Francis recalled that Wednesday marked the fiftieth anniversary of the assembly of St. Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III, a primary between a Catholic and Orthodox Coptic pope. Throughout that Might 10, 1973, encounter, the 2 popes signed a joint assertion on their shared religion in Christ and their rejection of proselytism, whereas additionally voicing concern for the plight of the Palestinian folks and calling for peace within the Center East.

Since then, relations have solely improved, and Francis visited Tawadros in 2017 on the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo. On the time, Egypt’s Orthodox Christians had been reeling from a spate of Islamic militant suicide bombings at church buildings that killed dozens of individuals.

Francis has steadily referred to the “ecumenism of blood,” the concept Catholics and Orthodox — whereas divided by schism and theological variations — are united in mourning religiously impressed violence towards Christians. Francis referred Wednesday particularly to the 2015 beheading of 21 principally Egyptian Coptic Christian employees in Libya.

“And talking of martyrs of the Coptic Church, who’re ours as nicely, I wish to keep in mind the martyrs on the Libyan seashore, who had been made martyrs just a few years in the past,” Francis stated.

Tawadros’ go to will culminate with one other ecumenically necessary occasion when he celebrates an Orthodox Coptic liturgy Sunday at Francis’ cathedral in Rome, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.