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Elham AbolFateh
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Monday 29 May 2017

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In Pictures-Pope Francis Historic visit to Cairo

Sunday 30/April/2017 - 08:52 AM
Sada El Balad
Sada ElBalad-Nada Moustafa
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received Pope Francis II and the Vatican State accompanying his holiness at the El-Ittahediya Palace shortly after an official reception ceremony had been held at Cairo airport.

Pope Francis and his accompanying delegation arrived in Cairo Friday for a two-day visit aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue.

This is the first visit for the Vatican Pope since Pope John Paul II visited Egypt since 2000.
Pope Francis II has thanked Al-Azhar Grand Imam، Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb، for organizing the World Peace Conference، press reports said on Friday.

Addressing the conference، his Holiness gave some ideas for achieving peace. He also called Egypt as the “land of civilization since the dawn of history on the Nile banks”.

Pope Francis، who is currently on a two-day visit to Egypt، added that the ancient Egyptian civilization has excelled in all fields including the search for knowledge، stressing the importance of science for a good future and achieving peace.

The Pope warned that there would be no peace without achieving advanced education and basic needs.

He also stressed the need to form an identity that is open to the other، and seeks to establish dialogue without resorting to misleading explanations.

Later on Friday، Francis headed to the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church، whose followers are the vast majority of Egypt's estimated nine million Christians، to meet its spiritual leader، Pope Tawadros II.

Francis and Tawadros presides over an ecumenical prayer service in St. Peter's church، the central Cairo church hit by a suicide bombing in December that killed 30، most of them women. Together the two Christian leaders were to pray for the victims of the attacks.

Francis has frequently spoken out about the present day's Christian martyrs and the "ecumenism of blood" that has united Catholic، Orthodox and other Christians targeted for their faith by Islamic militants.

While Francis eschewed the armored "popemobile،" security was visibly tightened for the 27 hours he will be on the ground in Cairo.

Streets designated for the pontiff's motorcade around the Coptic Orthodox cathedral of St. Mark's and the Vatican Embassy in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood were cleared of cars. Police also swarmed Zamalek، a Nile River island where Francis will sleep on Friday at the embassy.

Policemen in riverboats patrolled the Nile in front of the embassy. Security men، meanwhile، were posted every hundred meters (yards) or so along the 20-kilometer (12-mile) stretch between the airport and central Cairo ahead of Francis' arrival and armored cars were stationed in front of the presidential palace.

However، the pope's visit appears not to have caused much disruption to the city of some 18 million people as it fell on the Muslim Friday-Saturday weekend، when the usually congested traffic is significantly lighter.

Pope Francis called for a retreat from "fanaticism" during Mass in the Egyptian capital Saturday، the last day of a key visit during which he addressed religious violence and the plight of the region's beleaguered Christian communities، Nbc news reported.

                                       

Thousands of believers held yellow balloons، the color of the Vatican flag، at the military run stadium in Cairo.

 

"True faith leads us to protect the rights of others with the same zeal and enthusiasm with which we defend our own،" he told the crowd of some 15،000 people. "The only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity. Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him."

 

Then, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Pope Francis exchanged farewell at Cairo airport as the pontiff concluded 27-hour landmark visit to Cairo.


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