Pope Francis in Egypt: the catholic leader is in the country to seek better relations between Muslims and Christians…
Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis is in Egypt to encourage peace between Islamic religious leaders and Christian leaders. The two-day visit is intended to build on inter-faith dialogue with Muslim leaders and to show solidarity with beleaguered Christian communities in the Middle East.
This will be the first papal trip to the Muslim-majority nation since Pope John Paul II visited in 2000.
The supreme pontiff hopes his visit would help bring peace and encourage reconciliation within the Islamic society.
The Christian community in Egypt has been faced with untold challenges resulting from recent attacks by Islamic extremists. Pope Francis visit comes three weeks after ISIS bombed two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday; a gory attack which claimed the lives of at least 40 people and left tons wounded.
In December 2016, a bombing at Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens of others, most of them women and children.
The recent twin blasts, as well as series of other terror attacks, has seen to the migration of many Christians in Egypt to other neighboring countries. This attacks which have caught the attention of the whole world has caused the Pontiff to make significant attempts towards putting an end to the menace.
Pope Francis in Egypt
Despite the series of attacks that have rocked the country, the Pope has chosen not to travel in a bullet-proof vehicle for his trip within the city of Cairo. The supreme pontiff has been known for his preference of non-bulletproof cars; which he says allow him to interact with people while on a trip.
However, authorities have beefed up security in the areas he is expected to pass through. Streets near the Vatican embassy in Cairo and other sites have been cleared of cars and blocked off, and pedestrians have not been allowed to linger.
Pope Francis will start his visit to Egypt by meeting with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, as well as Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of the 1,000-year-old Al Azhar mosque. He will celebrate Mass, meet the country’s bishops and pray for Christians who have been killed in terrorist attacks. The Pope will be accompanied by a choir of 120 performers.
Some activities scheduled to take place during Pope Francis’ stay include series of prayers to be said by different groups.
About 21,000 worshipers will perform prayers at Air Defense Stadium, while about 2,000 to 2,500 perform prayers on the field. For security purposes, armed forces will secure the worshipers on their way to and from the stadium.
Vatican’s official YouTube channel has released a video message from the Pope to the people of Egypt, in which he expressed his gratitude for the kind invitation he received.
As unlikely as it sounds, Pope Francis’ visit would see to an amicable interaction between the two very different religious groups.
In Egypt, it is very uncommon for mosques to hold open days or for Christians and Muslims to hold meetings in the interests of interfaith dialogue.
While this has been practiced in a few other countries, it sounds almost impossible in a country like Egypt where only 10 percent of the country’s 93 million people are Christians, and the other 90 percent, Muslims.
Bearing in mind the aforementioned facts, it won’t be wrong to regard this event as a “major achievement” on the part of the brains behind it. With Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt, Coptics hope to practice their faith without fear of terrorist attacks, discriminations, and segregations.