• 13:35
  • Thursday ,08 September 2016
العربية

Pope Tawadros II ‘impressed’ with religious harmony in Jordan

TEST2

Copts and Poliltical Islam

15:09

Thursday ,08 September 2016

Pope Tawadros II ‘impressed’ with religious harmony in Jordan

 Coptic Pope Tawadros II said Monday that he was impressed with Jordan’s Muslim-Christian coexistence and the country’s inter-faith drive.

 
He noted in an exclusive interview with The Jordan Times that this is his first visit to the Kingdom.
 
“I saw the great attention paid to Christian religious sites. I saw the Baptism site among other historically and religiously significant places,” said the church leader, whose official title is Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark.
 
More importantly, he said, there are great efforts to encourage people to visit these sites.
 
“I am an Egyptian and I have read history but I have never imagined it would be this magnificent. I will go back to Egypt and encourage my compatriots to visit these places and learn history here,” the Pope said.
 
The religious leader said that an interesting fact he heard from HRH Prince Ghazi, King’s personal envoy and religious affairs adviser, is that the state donated plots of land to Christian communities to build their churches in the Baptism Site. “I saw these churches and visited the Coptic Church,” he said.
 
According to a Royal Court statement, Prince Ghazi informed the Pope of a Royal initiative to donate five dunums of land to the Copts to enlarge their church, which is still under construction. 
 
In a note in the visitors’ book, Pope Tawadros II wrote: “Love never ends. I was pleased in the company of HRH Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad… to this blessed site, whose earth was treaded by the Christ and John the Baptist, and where generations of saints, both men and women, have lived. I and the Coptic delegation encourage everybody to come and be blessed with visiting these holy places…”
 
The Coptic Pope, who met with His Majesty King Abdullah a day earlier, is in Jordan to attend the 11th session of the Middle East Council of Churches general assembly meetings, which focuses this year on the role the region’s Christian component.
 
He said the event acquires more importance due to the developments in the region, especially Syria and Iraq and the need to have Christian voice at this stage.
 
Amid these rapid changes, “including the falsely termed ‘[Arab] Spring’, the voice of Christians has become more significant among their Muslim brethren”, he told The Jordan Times. 
 
He stressed that the council, which was established in 1974, has since its inception played a role shaping the Christian voice in the regions it represents. 
 
Asked if churches would unite some day, Pope Tawadros said, “Certainly, unity is the rule and division is the exception. The issue is no more than a matter of terminology.”