Two Popes Meet to Strengthen Christendom in the Middle East
Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros ii met on May 10 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic meeting of their predecessors in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City. The two leaders represent two churches, the Roman Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church. Though the two share many of the same doctrines, they have been independent from each other since their founding and almost 2,000-year history. But now they seek cooperation as rising threats emerge.
Despite the differences in our roots and affiliations, we are united by the love of Christ who dwells in us and the host of our apostle fathers and saints surrounds and guides us.
— Pope Tawadros ii
Together with you, I implore Almighty God, that, through the intercession of the saints and martyrs of the Coptic Church, He might help us to grow in communion.
Joined in persecution: At the meeting, Francis referred to the 21 Coptic Christians murdered by the Islamic State in Libya in 2015. He said the martyrs were “also ours.” Francis often talks about the “ecumenism of blood” to show that even though the churches may be divided in government, attackers see them as belonging to the same faith.
After their remarks, the two popes jointly blessed the visitors in an ecumenical sign.
Following the meeting, Francis gave a strong call for unity:
May the prayers of the Coptic martyrs, united with those of the Theotokos [a title of Mary], continue to help our churches grow in friendship, until the blessed day when we can celebrate at the same altar and receive together the body and blood of the Savior.
Prophesied outcome: Many of the churches in the Middle East are facing increased persecution from Islamic terrorists and hostile states. A violent, religious-based conflict is brewing. The Bible describes this conflict.
And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
This clash revolves around Jerusalem. Violence surrounding this city will get so bad that European countries, motivated by the Catholic Church, are prophesied to intervene. This event, along with other geopolitical and religious events, will lead to what Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry called “The Last Crusade.”