15 June 2015 - The Egyptian Ambassador to the Holy See: Al Sisi has invited Pope Francis to Egypt. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has officially invited Pope Francis to make a visit to Egypt. This is what H. E. Ms. Wafaa Ashraf Moharram Bassim, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Holy See said in an interview published by Al-Ahram. In a long conversation with the best-known Egyptian newspaper, Ms. Wafaa Bassim answers several questions on the international role of Pope Francis and the positions of the Holy See with regard to the emergencies in the Middle East.
In this context, the diplomatic representative reported that the offices of the government have initiated a formal invitation with the signature of President al Sisi to ask the Pope to make an official visit to Egypt. The invitation of the President – says Ms. Wafaa Bassim - is added to that already addressed to Pope Francis by Patriarch Tawadros II, Primate of the Orthodox Coptic Church. Regarding the timing of a possible papal visit to Egypt, the diplomatic Egyptian representative says no date has been set and will surely not take place in 2015, but adds that "both parties wish the visit takes place very soon".
The news of a possible future visit of Pope Francis in Egypt is greeted with great joy even by Catholic Egyptians: "There is no official confirmation on what newspapers publish" says to Agenzia Fides Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, Bishop Coptic Catholic Guizeh "but certainly a visit of Peter's successor in Egypt, in this historic moment, would be great comfort and encouragement also for all Christians in the region".
Meanwhile Egyptian Coptic sources report that the professor of al-Azhar, Mohamed Emara, has resigned after the controversy that arose around one of his publications – released with the magazine - in which, among other things the renowned scholar called the historical event of Christianity in the Middle East "disastrous". Emara’s considerations had provoked negative reactions within the Coptic community, and the publication had been withdrawn. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 15/06/2015)