“Egypt a sign of hope for fraternity,” Pope Francis says

Days after concluding his visit to Egypt, Roman Catholic Pope Francis II described the country as a “sign of hope” for fraternity, not only historically, but also in the present day.

During an address in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the pope thanked the people of Egypt for their warm welcome and the Egyptian authorities for their “extraordinary commitment” to ensuring the success of his journey.

Pope Francis concluded on Saturday his widely-celebrated two-day visit to Egypt, which was focused on dialogue between Christians and Muslims and the promotion of peace in the world.

During the visit, the pope met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, and the head of Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II.

Pope Francis said that a joint statement he made with Pope Tawadros was a sign of the commitment of Christians to fraternity.

Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros signed on Friday in Cairo a mutual declaration that each of their respective churches will seek to acknowledge baptisms performed in the other church.

Pope Francis called on Christians to be a leaven of fraternity, in Egypt and elsewhere.

The pontiff repeated the sentiment he delivered during the International Conference for Peace, which was held in Cairo on the occasion of his visit, that Egypt has a history of being a land of civility and covenant.

Pope Francis also said that a speech delivered by Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam reminds us that peace is built through education, formation in wisdom, a humanism that includes the religious dimension.

The pope also referred to the prayers held for the victims who died in recent church bombings in Egypt, saying that their “sacrifice and common witness lent a particular fruitfulness to the work of ecumenism.”

Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt was the first trip by a Roman Catholic pope to the country since Pope John Paul II’s visit in 2000.

Source: Ahram online