Pope Francis sends message to Coptic Pope Tawadros II to mark 'day of friendship'

Pope Francis has told Coptic Pope Tawadros II that an “ecumenism of blood unites us”.

Francis sent a message to the Coptic patriarch on Sunday to mark the “day of friendship” between the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches.

“Today more than ever we are united by the ecumenism of blood, which further encourages us on the path toward peace and reconciliation. I assure you and the Christian community in Egypt and throughout the Middle East of my unceasing prayer, and I remember in particular the Coptic faithful recently martyred for their Christian faith. May the Lord welcome them into his kingdom,” he wrote.

During his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Monday, Pope Francis also discussed a telephone conversation he had with Pope Tawadros on the previous day.

“I remembered his faithful whose throats were slit on the beach (in Libya in February) because they were Christians,” the Pope said.

“By the strength the Holy Spirit gave them, these Christians were not scandalised. They died with the name of Jesus on their lips. It was the strength of the Holy Spirit. Witness. It’s true, martyrdom is the supreme witness.”

In his homily, the Pope said that the Holy Spirit strengthens modern martyrs, giving them the force to proclaim their faith in Christ even as they are about to die.

But the Holy Spirit also gives strength to every Christian facing even the tiny trials of everyday life, he added.