Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was scheduled to attend a peace conference in Cairo with Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar University.
While Patriarch Bartholomew’s office did not release a detailed schedule of events he would be attending during the pope’s visit to Cairo from 28th to 29th April, the Vatican confirmed reports on 19th April that Patriarch Bartholomew was invited to take part in the conference and was planning to attend.
Pope Francis was also scheduled to meet Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, soon after the conference on 28th April, making it a day the heirs of the Apostles Peter, Mark and Andrew all would be present in the ancient land of Egypt.
While Pope Francis is the successor of St Peter, the Orthodox ecumenical patriarchate traces its lineage to St Andrew and the Coptic Orthodox Church has St Mark as its patron. The Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches are not in full communion with each other, although they have been working closely together and have been engaged in theology dialogue aimed at unity.
Picture: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople talks during a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher on 22nd March. Patriarch Bartholomew was scheduled to attend a peace conference in Cairo with Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar University, during the pope’s visit to Cairo from 28th to 29th April. (CNS photo/Menahem Kahana, Reuters).