Today, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, is commencing his first pastoral visit of the United Kingdom. This will be the first time His Holiness has visited as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, whose membership remains predominantly in Egypt. Coptic Christians now also represent 80% of Christians in the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity.
His Holiness will visit Coptic Orthodox parishes across the United Kingdom, officiating liturgical services and performing several consecrations, while generally taking time to engage with parishioners. Pope Tawadros 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 His Holiness today and accompany him throughout his stay. Earlier today Bishop Angaelos said: “This is a historic visit, 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.
This has been a 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.”
During his visit, one of the most significant engagements will be when the Pope 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.