His Holiness Pope Tawadros II offered deepest condolences on his behalf and the Coptic Church to the United Arab of Emirates’ for the departure of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (1948 – 2022), President of the United Arab Emirates, on 13 May.
In a telephone call with the satellite channel al-Arabiya, Pope Tawadros spoke of Sheikh Khalifa: “His Highness’ open minded and kind heart has rendered his departure a great loss not only in his country, but also in many others. He was a strong, world-wise leader.”
The Pope said the UAE’s late leader had acrich biography that spanned diverse interests. “He was an extension to his father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918 – 2004) who we used to call “Zayed Al Khair” (literally Zayed the Good).
“Sheikh Khalifa was a great role model for coexistence and embracing all cultures and religions.”
Pope Tawadros spoke of Sheikh Khalifa’s relation with the Coptic Church, saying: “We cannot forget Sheikh Khalifa’s continuous support for the Church especially after establishing a Coptic Church in the UAE to serve Her children there.”
His said he had delegated a Coptic bishop to personally offer the Pope’s condolences to the ruling family and to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
For its part, the Coptic Orthodox Church, led by Pope Tawadeos II, issued a statement mourning Sheikh Khalifa who it described as a man who led a life of service to his country; an excellent successor to an exemplary predecessor.” The statement read:
“We share in the sorrow of the family of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE people for the departure of this great leader, recalling the country’s historical support of Egypt, especially during hard times. We will always remember his unfailing support to establish a Coptic Church in the UAE.
“We offer our sincere condolences to our brothers—the UAE people—hoping for them to continue in growth and advancement, following in the footsteps of this great departed leader.”
15 May 2022