Greeting of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II of Alexandira on the occasion of his visit to Archbishop’s House Dublin

18 May 2017

Your Holiness,

The visit of Your Holiness to this Archdiocese of Dublin is an occasion of great joy for the Catholic community as well as for the growing Coptic community in Ireland.  We all share in the great joy of the Coptic Community that it has now found a permanent home and Church building which Your Holiness will bless and dedicate during your visit.

All Christian believers in Ireland rejoice at this presence of our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters as an enrichment of the liturgical and theological traditions present in our country.

That presence will help bring to fruitful realization in Ireland that desire expressed in the Common Declaration of Your Holiness and Pope Francis at his recent meeting in Egypt:

“In this regard, we are encouraged to engage in a deeper study of the Oriental and Latin Fathers, and to promote a fruitful exchange in pastoral life, especially in catechesis, and in mutual spiritual enrichment between monastic and religious communities”.

This process of mutual enrichment will deepen our commitment to walk together and grow in unity, knowing that God himself is the source of all communion and that that communion is a communion of love.

That love, as the Common Declaration reminded us;

“finds its deepest expression in common prayer. When Christians pray together, they come to realize that what unites them is much greater than what divides them. Our longing for unity receives its inspiration from the prayer of Christ “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21)”.

We deepen our shared roots in the one apostolic faith above all by praying together and witnessing in the world to our common Baptism.

Our common witness will, as the Common Declaration states, involve bearing witness

“to fundamental values such as the sanctity and dignity of human life, the sacredness of marriage and the family, and respect for all of creation, entrusted to us by God. In the face of many contemporary challenges such as secularization and the globalization of indifference, we are called to offer a shared response based on the values of the Gospel and the treasures of our respective traditions”.

Your presence here with us Your Holiness also calls all of us to pray for peace in your country and in the region where Jesus Christ once walked.  We are very aware of the suffering that your Coptic community has endured even in recent weeks and we assure you of our prayerful solidarity.  We pray that your country can become a beacon in the region for freedom of religion and for dialogue among all believers especially with our Muslims sisters and brothers.

We pray for peace in your country and for prosperity of all its citizens based on respect for the rights of every individual, the unity of the human family and the safeguarding of creation.  Many people in Ireland are concerned about an Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa, awaiting trial in Egypt and we share the humanitarian concern of his family who are well known to us.

The principal aim of your visit is to the bless and dedicate the new Coptic Church here in Drumcondra.  It is a church which has a history as a place where for generations a community of Catholic monastic nuns dedicated themselves to a life of prayer and Christian austerity.  We pray that the Coptic presence now will continue that tradition of prayer which will be of benefit to the growth of the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a new pluralist Irish society. Ends