The head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II
has begun a six day visit to the Vatican, making it the first of such visits in 40 years.
Draped in a black rope, and exchanging gifts, Tawadros greeted Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church. The two relatively new leaders, addressed each other as “Your Holiness”. Pope Tawadros II, 60, came to office last year and Pope Francis, 76, in March.
Tawadros II was accompanied by six priests and bishops for his six-day visit. He is the second Coptic Pope in history to visit the Vatican.
The leaders discussed the growing violence from majority Muslims towards Christians in Egypt, who make up about 15 per cent of the country’s population of 84 million.
An official speech addressing the recent sectarian violence in Egypt was not made. However, prayers were said for Christian Egyptians who say they have seen a rise in attacks against their community since the overthrow of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the rise of the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to power.