Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. CNS photo/Andreas Solaro, pool via Reuters

A Pope visits Queen’s

  • October 2, 2014

I was not about to miss seeing the pope on our Queen’s University campus. Perhaps not “the” pope — but a pope nonetheless, and surely the first ever papal visit to Kingston. 

Tawadros II (Theodore in English), Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, whose ancient patriarchal see is in Alexandria, Egypt. Of the 16-18 million Christians in the Middle East, the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt is by far the largest single group, numbering some 10 million souls. Since his enthronement in November 2012, Pope Tawadros has been visiting the diaspora churches around the world, and spent much of September in Canada. His public lecture at Queen’s University on September 26 was packed with Coptic Christians from all over Ontario and it was moving to witness their joy in being in the presence of their spiritual father. 

My late mentor Fr. Richard John Neuhaus was fond of quoting a Baptist friend of his who, watching St. John Paul the Great exercise his ministry as universal pastor of the Church, said, “You’ve got a pope who knows how to pope!” It came to mind when attending the papal lecture; his public presence was certainly that of man who knows how to pope. 

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