Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry during his meeting with Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, in Cairo on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
Pope Tawadros II received at the Papal residence in Cairo Schinas and his accompanying delegation and the head of the EU commission in Egypt, Christian Berger, to discuss Egypt’s key role in promoting interfaith dialogue and coexistence.
According to the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros presented a brief history of Egypt and the Coptic Orthodox Church during the meeting.
“We are a strong church in the Middle East, and we have a good relationship with other churches and all corners of the Egyptian state,” said Pope Tawadros II.
He added that the Coptic Church is the oldest in the Middle East, and Alexandria was the first city to accept the Christian faith in Africa.
The Egyptian Pope highlighted that the Church has a social role to play besides its spiritual role.
Therefore, he explained, the Church established the Pontifical Office for projects ten years ago to provide its services to the community in education, health, and empowerment of women and youth through small projects and humanitarian aid.
According to the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, Schinas asked about the security situation of the Church and the attacks against churches that took place in previous periods in Egypt.
"The protection of churches is the responsibility of the State, which it carries out efficiently, but the attacks that occurred before were aimed at breaking our national unity. The State, however, is constantly working to establish the principle of equality,” Pope Tawadros said.
The Pope also cited the 2016 law regulating the construction of churches.
He also highlighted that competence alone is the sole criterion for filling senior positions in Egypt and that this has allowed Christians to occupy the such position, so much so that there are currently two Christian governors.
At the end of the meeting, the Pope presented the EU delegation with a book in English on the Holy Family's journey to Egypt as a souvenir.