Cairo – On Sunday 10 May Pope Francis called Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II to confirm his proximity to the Coptic Church and all the Egyptian people, and to renew the promise to pray for each other every day. Pope Francis wanted to express his participation of fraternal love between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome in a simple and direct way, celebrated every year on the anniversary of the trip to Rome by Patriarch Tawadros in 2013 to meet Pope Francis himself for the first time. The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch – Egyptian media report – referred to the present time (also marked in Egypt by the pandemic due to Covid-19) citing Saint Paul who said “We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Rom 8:28).
At the end of the conversation, Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros also shared the prayer to God asking him to have mercy on the Church, believers and the whole world. Among the Heads of the Eastern Churches,Pope Tawadros was the most determined in strongly supporting the search for a common date for the Easter liturgical solemnities, currently celebrated on different days by the various churches and communities of the baptized. The solicitation to unify the date of the Easter celebration had already been expressed by the Coptic Patriarch in a letter sent to Pope Francis in May 2014, on the occasion of the first anniversary of their meeting in the Vatican. Tawadros, at the head of the Christian Church, numerically more consistent among those present in Arab countries, returned to propose the issue also in November 2014, speaking in Vienna during the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Pro-Oriente Foundation.
In June 2015, Pope Francis also expressed the willingness of the Catholic Church to set a fixed date for Easter, “so that it can be celebrated on the same day by all Christians, whether they are Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox”.
The unification of the dates of the celebration of the Easter of Resurrection is an urgency particularly felt in North Africa and in the Middle East, where Christian Churches and communities coexist in the same territory. Here Easter day is celebrated differently, according to the Julian or Gregorian Calendar.
Source: Agenzia Fides