The next visit of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II to Pope Francis, scheduled for Saturday, May 11, "could have important and positive results. I also hope that we can resume the thread of theological dialogue to really start to walk towards full communion." This is the wish expressed by the Coptic Catholic Bishop Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, recently appointed head of the most important Coptic Catholic Eparchy in Minya, 250 kilometers south of Cairo.
Pope Tawadros’ visit to Pope Francis occurs 40 years after the meeting which took place in Rome between Pope Paul VI and Shenouda III, Tawadros’ predecessor. On that occasion a theological dialogue between the two Churches began which in 1988 led to an agreement and a joint declaration on Christology that was to put an end to centuries of misunderstanding and mistrust.
In the Common Christological Declaration, the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox confess to share the same faith in "Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word" that "is perfect in its Divinity and perfect in its Humanity." Since then, though - notes Bishop Fahim Hanna - "that common Christological Declaration has not had practical effects. I hope that with the visit of the new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch to the new Bishop of Rome recent approaches on the spiritual and pastoral can be deepened at a theological and doctrinal level and provide a chance to re-start a thorough theological and respectful dialogue, to embark on a journey that could one day lead us back to full sacramental union".