At the Vatican on Friday not one, not two, but three popes were inside the tiny city-state’s walls at the same time.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Catholic Pope Francis, each addressing the other as “Your Holiness”, prayed together for reconciliation among communities and nations without mention of events in Egypt. Tawadros has previously denounced a wave of anti-Christian attacks there.
A short walk from where they met in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is living out his retirement in a convent in the Vatican gardens. There were no plans for Tawadros, making his first trip outside Egypt since his election in November, to meet Benedict.
The tall, black-robed Tawadros is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the largest Christian Church in Egypt. He is only the second Coptic pope in history to visit the Vatican.