Bearing a message of peace and reconciliation to Egyptians, Pope Francis said better cooperation by the two religions could lead to a new generation refreshing an environment poisoned by the one before it.
“Young people, like well-planted trees, can be firmly rooted in the soil of history,” he said, “and growing heavenward in one another’s company, can daily turn the polluted air of hatred into the oxygen of fraternity.”
“This land is significant for the history of humanity and for the Church’s tradition, not only because of its prestigious past – that of Pharaohs, Copts and Muslims – but also because so many of the Patriarchs lived in Egypt or passed through it.”
The pope commits his support to Coptic Orthodox Christians and reached out to Muslim leaders and met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Pope Francis said, “Indeed, Egypt is often mentioned in the sacred Scriptures. In this land, God spoke and “revealed his name to Moses” (JOHN PAUL II, Welcome Ceremony, 24 February 2000: Insegnamenti XXIII, 1 , 248), and on Mount Sinai he entrusted to his people and to all humanity the divine Commandments. On Egyptian soil the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph found refuge and hospitality.”
For the affected families and friends of the victims of the two suicide bombings that killed 44 people at Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday, the visit of Pope Francis is a comfort in a country still shocked by the violence.
This is the 18th trip of Pope Francis outside Italy in four years of his papacy and the second pope to visit Egypt after Pope John Paul II, who visited Cairo and Mount Sinai in 2000.