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The Pope and Tewodros together to celebrate the ecumenical fiftieth anniversary

Charlotta Smedes – Vatican City

Tomorrow, Patriarch Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, will arrive in Rome for a six-day visit. On May 10 and 11, the Patriarch will celebrate with Pope Francis the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting between their two predecessors, Saint Paul VI and Shenouda III, which took place in May 1973.

Tawadros will attend the public hearing on Wednesday, May 10th. On Thursday, May 11, he will hold a private audience with Pope Francis, which will include a moment of joint prayer. After that, he visited the doctor to promote the unity of Christians. The Patriarch will also meet with the followers of the Coptic denomination residing in Rome, with whom he will celebrate the Eucharistic Mass on Sunday, May 14, in the Papal Basilica of St. Giovanni in Laterano.

In an interview with Vatican News last April, Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, frpn the Dicastery, identified this important visit, as a “milestone” in the ecumenical journey. Father Destivelle recalled the joint declaration signed by Pope Montaigne and Patriarch Shenouda on May 10, 1973, which served as “a model for similar agreements with other Eastern Orthodox Churches that recognize the first three councils.” He pointed out that the visit comes 10 years after the first meeting between Pope Francis and Tewodros.

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