Pope Tawadros II, who is on a visit to Jordan by invitation from King Abdullah, was received by the king last Sunday 4 September at the Royal Palace in Amman.
The meeting was cordial and warm-hearted and was attended by Prince Ghazi, the King’s personal envoy and religious and cultural affairs adviser; and the delegation of Coptic Orthodox bishops and clergy who accompanied the Pope on his visit.
King Abdullah said that Jordan has always been and still is a model of harmonious Muslim-Christian coexistence in the region and the world, and highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to entrench the concepts of dialogue and understanding among followers of different religions.
Talks also covered means to boost Copts’ visits to the Kingdom and the Christian pilgrimage sites, especially the Baptism Site, which figures highly on Christian religious sites.
The King and the Coptic Pope discussed the Jordan-hosted 11th general assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) meetings, which focuses this year on the region’s Christians.
Pope Tawadros commended Jordan’s pursuit of understanding and harmony among followers of religions and the role of the Hashemites in preserving Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
Pope Tawadros II had arrived at Amman early afternoon on Saturday 3 September, where he was given an official reception at the airport. The visit is the Pope’s first to Jordan. According to the spokesman of the Coptic Orthodox Church Fr Boulos Halim, the Pope’s visit is a pastoral one and is expected to last one week. The Pope will also participate in the 11th general assembly of the MECC, which takes place on 6 – 8 September and focuses on the predicament of Middle East Christians and their suffering, as well as the relief work they are in dire need of.
Saturday evening, the Pope presided over Vespers incense service at the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Holy Virgin and Mar Girgis (St George) in Amman. Attending was Egypt’s Ambassador to Amman, Tarek Adel.
Following prayers, Pope Tawadros expressed his gratefulness for the generosity and kindness shown by King Abdullah to His Holiness and the delegation accompanying him, which included Anba Antonius, Metropolitan of Jerusalem and the Near East; Anba Ilarion, Bishop-General of Ezbet al-Hagana, Almaza, and Zahraa’ Madinet Nasr; Anba Hermina, Bishop-General of Ain Shams and Matariya; and papal secretaries Fr Angaelos Ishaq and Fr Ammonius Adel; as well as the priests of the Coptic churches in Amman.
Pope Tawadros thanked King Abdullah and Jordan’s officials for their kindness and generosity, and said he “came carrying a message of peace from Egypt to Jordan” He gave a word that focused on love and the abundant blessings of God.
Sunday morning saw Pope Tawadros preside over Holy Mass, and meet the Coptic community in Jordan. He then headed to the Coptic Orthodox monastery of St Anthony the Great in Madaba, 30km southwest Amman, and officially opened it. It was Pope Shenouda III (Coptic Orthodox patriarch from 1971 to 2012, today seen by the Copts as a modern-day saint) who in 2005 laid the foundation stone of the monastery and gave it its name.
The Pope, together with the delegation accompanying him, visited Mount Nebo where they were given a detailed tour of the historical site.
5 September 2016