(Vatican Radio) The Coptic Orthodox leader, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, on Friday embarked on his first pastoral visit to the United Kingdom.
It is the first time that Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, has visited the UK as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church whose membership remains predominantly in Egypt.
During Pope Francis’ recent two-day apostolic journey to Egypt Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros took a significant step forward in the quest for unity by signing a joint declarationin which they say they will recognise each other’s Sacrament of Baptism.
Coptic Christians currently represent 80% of Christians in the Middle East.
According to the Coptic Orthodox Church UK media release Pope Tawadros is scheduled to visit Coptic Orthodox parishes across the UK, officiating liturgical services and performing several consecrations, while generally taking time to engage with parishioners.
He will also engage with various ecumenical, interfaith and official members of British society at a series of events planned throughout the course of his stay.
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, will receive Tawadros upon his arrival and accompany him throughout his stay.
Bishop Angaelos has described the visit as an historic one “not only of the 118th Pope of Alexandria to the United Kingdom, but more personally for His Holiness Pope Tawadros, as his first engagement with his flock across Britain. For Coptic Christians here, it will be an opportunity to spend time with the head of their Church, and their spiritual father”.
The Bishop also pointed out the past one has been a particularly difficult year for Christians in Egypt “with recent and ongoing attacks, and thus the visit will also be an opportunity for their brothers and sisters to hear directly from His Holiness about the situation there, and how they can provide greater support for them.”
The press release also says that during his visit, one of the most significant engagements will be when the Pope Tawadros addresses hundreds of youth from Coptic parishes across England at a meeting during which they will present on the various ministries they engage with under the umbrella of Coptic Youth Mission.