Cairo- Roman Catholic Pope Francis will land in Egypt on Friday for a two-day visit where he will meet with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and religious leaders in the country, including Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb.
The Pope will address an audience of 25,000 Christian worshipers during a ceremony held on the occasion, in the presence of the Egyptian president.
A statement by Egypt’s presidential office said the Pope’s itinerary would include visits to Al-Azhar University, where he would meet with Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb and take part in an international conference on peace.
Pope Francis will also meet with Pope Tawadros II, with whom he would lead a prayer service for the victims of the bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church — which is adjacent to the main Coptic Cathedral complex in central Cairo.
Earlier this month, two terror attacks targeted Coptic churches in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, and the northern city of Tanta. More than 40 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured.
Terrorists detonated bombs as they stood among people gathered for prayers at religious services. The bombings took place on the Christian observance of Palm Sunday.
In a video message earlier this week, Pope Francis said he would like his visit to “be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East” and “a message of friendship and respect” for Egyptians and the region.
He also described his visit to Egypt as “a message of brotherhood and reconciliation” with the Muslim world.