Vatican City (AsiaNews) - It can be said that there is an "ecumenism of suffering" because "the sharing of daily suffering can become effective instrument of unity" among Christians and, in a way, "also in the broader context of society and the relationship between Christians and non-Christians from the common suffering, can in fact grow, with the help of God, forgiveness and reconciliation". There is a clear reference to the situation of Christians in Egypt in Pope Francis' greeting this morning to Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, who was received in audience.
In his speech Pope Francis highlighted how relations with the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Catholics have grown and improved emphasizing the importance of creating a National Council of Christian Churches in Egypt . "The institution of a "National Council of Christian Churches", which you strongly desired, represents an important sign of the will of all believers in Christ to develop relations in daily life that are increasingly fraternal and to put themselves at the service of the whole of Egyptian society, of which they form an integral part. Let me assure you that your efforts to build communion among believers in Christ, and your lively interest in the future of your country and the role of the Christian communities within Egyptian society find a deep echo in the heart of the Successor of Peter and of the entire Catholic community".
"Today's visit - he said - strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that already exist between the See of Peter and the See of Mark, heir to an inestimable heritage of martyrs, theologians, holy monks and faithful disciples of Christ, who have borne witness to the Gospel from generation to generation, often in situations of great adversity".
"Forty years ago the Common Declaration of our predecessors represented a milestone on the ecumenical journey, and from it emerged a Commission for Theological Dialogue between our Churches, which has yielded good results and has prepared the ground for a broader dialogue between the Catholic Church and the entire family of Oriental Orthodox Churches, a dialogue that continues to bear fruit to this day. In that solemn Declaration, our Churches acknowledged that, in line with the apostolic traditions, they profess "one faith in the One Triune God" and "the divinity of the Only-begotten Son of God ... perfect God with respect to his divinity, perfect man with respect to his humanity". They acknowledged that divine life is given to us and nourished through the seven sacraments and they recognized a mutual bond in their common devotion to the Mother of God".
"We are glad to be able to confirm today what our illustrious predecessors solemnly declared, we are glad to recognize that we are united by one Baptism, of which our common prayer is a special expression, and we long for the day when, in fulfilment of the Lord's desire, we will be able to communicate from the one chalice".