10 MAY 2019


Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark



Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ,

As we approach the anniversary of our memorable meeting in Rome on 10 May 2013 which, having taken place on the fortieth anniversary of the historic encounter between Pope Saint Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III, inaugurated the annual Day of Friendship Between Copts and Catholics, I wish to express my heartfelt joy at the deeper spiritual bonds that unite the See of Saint Peter and the See of Saint Mark.

These spiritual bonds have increasingly been strengthened by the theological dialogue undertaken since 2004 by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which has produced two important documents that express the growing understanding between us. I recall with gratitude the dedicated service of His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of blessed memory as Co–Chair of this dialogue since its inception, and I am pleased that the new Co–Chair is again a pastor and theologian of the Coptic Church, His Grace Bishop Kyrillos of Los Angeles.

Along this path towards full communion we are also sustained by the powerful intercession and example of the martyrs and all those who have suffered in the name of Christ. May the Holy Spirit unite us evermore in the holy bond of Christian love and guide us in our shared pilgrimage, in truth and in charity, towards fulfilling the prayer of Christ “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21). In the assurance that I will continue to pray for Your Holiness and the Coptic Orthodox Church, I exchange a fraternal embrace of peace in Christ our Lord.


Francis PP.