Pope Tawadros II has sent a message to the Coptic Orthodox Church in Northeast United States apologising for having to postpone a visit that had been scheduled next September to the US. The decision, the Pope explained in his letter to “My beloved children in the churches of northeast US” came after unforeseen circumstances had cropped up.
“I have been used to plan my visits well in advance,” the Pope said in his letter, “after sufficient deliberation and prayer. I would then inform the bishops concerned and discuss the matter with them, after which the visit would be confirmed.
“A visit to the US was the only one scheduled for the summer of 2017. However, and for special reasons, it transpired that I had to be in Australia for Coptic New Year Day on 1 Tut/11 September. Another visit to Japan was necessary in order to consecrate the first Coptic Church there. These two pastoral visits had to be completed before the visit to the US.
“I then received an invitation to visit Germany to participate in an event in which all the Middle East patriarchs are to take part to discuss the status of Christians in the Middle East. It was not right that the Coptic Orthodox Church should not be represented. Being in Germany meant that a few more days would be needed to consecrate a number of new Coptic churches there. This visit should have come after that of the US.
“All this meant that any visit to the US would have be very short, and would be absolutely exhausting. My itinerary in the US was too full and condensed, to the point that several invitations by congregations for me to visit them had to be declined. In addition, I had to be the UK at a specific date that was set months ago for a surgical procedure.”
Pope Tawadros thanked all those in the Northeast US churches that had worked hard to make arrangements for his anticipated visit, and sincerely apologised for having to postpone the visit “against all my wishes and for reasons absolutely out of my hands”. He said that an early notification of putting off his visit surely makes matters easier, and promised the postponement would be for only a few months after which he could allocate generous time for a US visit.
“I rely on your love and understanding,” the Pope said in his letter. He said he was looking forward to meeting the congregations in the US, and that he trusted the Lord to allow this to happen at the most adequate time.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,” (Rom. 8:28) Pope Tawadros concluded.
16 July 2017