Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church said that he is confident that Pope Tawadros II, the newly elected Coptic Orthodox pope, will be “an effective partner … in building the new Egypt in peace and harmony, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East.”
In a message to Tawadros published on the Vatican’s website, Pope Benedict XVI said, “I was filled with joy on learning of your election as Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark and I gladly extend to you and to the clergy and faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church my good wishes and prayerful solidarity.”
Tawadros was chosen in a ceremony at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasseya on Sunday. The 60-year-old pope, the 118th to lead a church that traces its origins back to the early era of Christianity, has taken the helm when many of the Christians who make up about a tenth of the nation's 83 million people, constituting the largest religious minority in the Middle East, are increasingly fearful about their future under a state dominated by Islamists and their allies.
Benedict later expressed his wishes to continue the dialogue between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, supported by the late Pope Shenouda III.
Two years after he claimed his papacy, Shenouda was hosted by the late Pope Paul VI. In 2000, Shenouda met with Pope John Paul II religious leaders met for the second time in Cairo.
"I am confident that, like your renowned predecessor Pope Shenouda III, you will be a genuine spiritual father for your people and an effective partner with all your fellow-citizens in building the new Egypt in peace and harmony, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East,” the Roman Catholic pontiff wrote in a letter published by Vatican Radio’s website.