Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes Coptic Orthodox Pope to Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the Coptic Orthodox Pope, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to Lambeth Palace yesterday.

His Holiness, the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, paid the courtesy visit to Archbishop Justin Welby during his first pastoral visit to the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK.

Pope Tawadros, who met HM The Queen at Windsor Castle on Tuesday, was accompanied to Lambeth Palace by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

The Archbishop and the Pope spent time discussing the situation of the Coptic Church in Egypt, and the challenges and opportunities facing both Coptic and Anglican Christians in the country.

The two leaders then attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey together, the first time the Archbishop of Canterbury and Coptic Pope have done so. During the service they prayed together at the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor.

Welcoming Pope Tawadros to Lambeth Palace this afternoon, the Archbishop said: “Your Holiness, thank you for being here. Thank you that today, we meet together in the presence of the Spirit of Christ, the risen Christ.”

He added: “We have spoken especially about the need to maintain a society in which both Christians and Muslims are able to flourish. We also spoke of the need for unity among the churches, and for good relationships between the churches in Egypt. And we spoke of the threats that come from extremism, and how that is a threat not only to Christians but also to Muslims, and it is a threat that must be met in the short term by strong action, but also in the longer term by good education.” 

Speaking ahead of the Evensong service at Westminster Abbey – where the Archbishop and Pope prayed with and for each other, and for the church – the Archbishop said: “In this prayer, we will express our unity as brothers in Jesus Christ, while recognizing that we have differences; but these are differences that we continue to address through our mutual dialogue.”

Archbishop Justin has met with Pope Tawadros in Cairo twice since taking office in 2013. The first time was shortly after his installation in June 2013, during his first visit to the Middle East as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Source: Independent Catholic News