Egypt’s Coptic pope in rare visit to Jerusalem

SHAFAQNA – Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday for the funeral of a senior cleric, the first visit by the head of Coptic Christians in decades, the church said.

He will attend the funeral of Archbishop Anba Abraham, the head of the Coptic Church in the Holy Land, who died on Wednesday at the age of 72.

The church’s Facebook page announced his arrival, sharing photos of the pope and his delegation in Jerusalem.

The funeral will take place on Saturday in the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem’s Old City, adjacent to the Holy Sepulchre, the church said.

Egyptian Copts were forbidden from visiting Israel in 1980 by their late Pope Shenouda III in protest at Israel’s occupation of east Jerusalem.

Despite the ban, hundreds of Egyptian Copts have visited Israel over the past few years during Easter.

Shenouda passed away in 2012 after leading the ancient orthodox church for 40 years.

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