Both will speak at the international conference on peace on 28 April. Al-Azhar Grand Imam el-Tayyib and the Coptic Patriarch Tawadros will also be present. The latter’s community was the victim of attacks on Palm Sunday.
Istanbul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew will be in Cairo on 28 and 29 April. Along with Pope Francis, he will take part in the meeting on peace sponsored by Al-Azhar University.
Bartholomew was invited by Grand Imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, who also invited the patriarch of the Coptic Church Tawadros, whose community was the victim of attacks on Palm Sunday.
After Easter celebration at the Phanar (Istanbul), Bartholomew told Orthodox faithful about the invitation to the international conference on peace where el-Tayyib is scheduled to speak.
Bartholomew mentioned a letter he received from Pope Francis, who thanked him for his friendship and expressed hope of seeing him again soon.
Speaking about that possibility, the patriarch said, "I too was invited by Al-Azhar University in Cairo and on 28 April I could be with Pope Francis for the same occasion."
Francis and Bartholomew have met several times. Both speak of mutual affection and friendship. In particular, the two met in April 2016 on the Greek island of Lesbos over the refugee issue.
Peace has also brought them together, in particular the prayer meeting held at the Vatican on 8 June 2013 with the presidents of Israel and Palestine, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas.
The presence of the pope and the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople along with the Coptic patriarch and the imam of the most prestigious Sunni institution in the world is meant as a testimony to the willingness of religions to promote peace and reject extremist provocations.
News about violence against Copts have disappeared from Egyptian media. For the government, the crisis has been resolved. International conferences continue. The one organised by Al-Azhar ended yesterday with no results. More than 1,500 Christians have fled from El Arīsh.
Pope expressed his closeness to the affected community, especially women and children who represent the largest number of victims. He mentioned the blood ecumenism of martyrs and offered prayers for peace in Egypt and the world. Funerals took place in Cairo led by Patriarch Tawadros II. The attackers "have offended an entire nation."