Koptisk patriark ønsker paven velkommen til Egypt

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (FIDES/CWNews.com) - In preparation for the visit by Pope John Paul II to Egypt later in February, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Stephanos Ghattos II, has issues a message to the country's Catholic people. That message, written in Arabic, is reproduced here in a translation furnished by the FIDES news service:

"How wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news-- and peace!" (Rom. 10:15)

In the name of the Council of Catholic patriarchs and bishops in Egypt, I have the pleasure and the honor to announce to our good Catholic people that for the first time in history a Roman Pontiff is undertaking a visit to our dear homeland, Egypt.

This visit is made in response to the kind invitation addressed to his Holiness by President Hosni Mubarak. It will take place during the period from 24 to 26 of February 2000. This visit coincides with the commemoration of the 2000 years of the Nativity of the glorious Christ, who blessed our country by his coming with his mother the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph the carpenter, in their flight from the tyrannical King Herod

This same land had already had earlier welcomed Abraham, the father of all believers; Joseph, the son of Jacob; and the prophet Jeremiah. This is also the birthplace of Moses, who was refined by Egyptian wisdom; and it was here, on Mount Sinai, that he received from God the Ten Commandments. Hence Pope John Paul II's visit to Egypt is a true pilgrimage to the holy places that are abundant in our country.

Moreover, this will be the first trip by a successor of St. Peter to the episcopal see of St Mark. In fact, John Paul II is going to pay a visit to his Holiness Pope Shenouda III [the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church], in response to the visit by Pope Shenouda to the Vatican in 1973. During that first visit by a Coptic Patriarch to the Vatican, Shenouda III shared a common prayer with Pope Paul VI in St. Peter's Basilica. On that occasion, the Vatican presented to the Coptic Orthodox Church some relics of St. Athanasius,--the famous Egyptian defender of the faith. At the same time a dialogue was established for theological discussions between the Vatican and the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Together with his Holiness Pope Shenouda III, his Holiness John Paul II will meet with the heads of the different Churches in Egypt during a historic ecumenical gathering. The Pope will meet as well with the Grand Imam, Mohammad Sayed Tantawi, Sheikh of the Al-Azhar University. This meeting will crown the endeavors of the joint commission Vatican for Islamic- Christian dialogue set up by Al-Azhar and the. During his visit here, his Holiness will be able to witness an exemplary and unique model of national unity between Muslims and Christians.

In the name of the Catholic people in Egypt and their religious leaders, I hereby welcome to Egypt the Supreme Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, and we wish him an excellent stay among us. For this happy event, I invite all the Catholics in Egypt to prepare themselves spiritually in order to welcome the great grace that God is giving us in the Pope's visit to our dear country, at the very moment when we celebrate the second Alexandrian Council, so that we can deepen our faith and renew our inner life.

I recommend a Triduum in all of our Catholic churches, as well as all the convents, from Sunday the 20th to Tuesday the 22nd of February. That Triduum that should be accompanied by the sacrament of Reconciliation, so that we will be able to prepare our hearts to receive the abundant that God will vouchsafe us during the Pope's visit.

We implore humbly our Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, to preserve the Holy Father through her powerful intercession, granting him health and strength so that he would be able to pursue his apostolic activity throughout this Jubilee Year of 2000, and so that his untiring efforts will bear fruit for the good of all our holy Church, for peace in the our region, and for the whole world.

Stephanos II Patriarch of the Catholic Copts President of the Council of Catholic patriarchs and bishops in Egypt.

Catholic World News - Feature

av Webmaster publisert 24.02.2000, sist endret 24.02.2000 - 00:27