Stating that this would be the first visit of a Bishop of Rome to 'our motherland', Coptic Catholic Patriarch Stéphanos II Ghattas officially announced to the Egyptian faithful Pope John Paul II's 24-26 February visit.
   The visit to Egypt is one of several stages in the Holy Father's pilgrimage to the places of salvation, which will continue at the end of March in the Holy Land.
   The message refers to "the first visit of the holder of the See of St. Peter to the one of the See of St. Mark," as the Coptic Church was founded in Alexandria by St. Mark, the Evangelist, around the year 40."
   During his visit, John Paul II will also meet Coptic Patriarch Shenuda III, who visited the Vatican back in 1973, during Paul VI's pontificate. He leads the section of the Coptic Church not in communion with Rome.
   Zenit (available soon) 16/2/00

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