Coptic Pope Tawadros II - Photo: wikipedia

Novak emphasises importance of peace in meeting with Pope Tawadros II

President Katalin Novak, at a meeting with Pope Tawadros II in Cairo on Tuesday asked the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria to do everything possible in the interest of urgent peace.

The president added that she will meet Pope Francis in Dubai on Saturday after addressing the United Nations COP28 climate summit.

Novak noted that there were wars going on in Ukraine and the Middle East. She said the war in Israel and the Gaza Strip highlighted the kind of tensions differences between religious groups could lead to.

“Hungarians are a peace-loving people, so we’ll do everything possible in the interest of there being peace in Ukraine and the Middle East as soon as possible,” she said.

Novak said Hungary was proud to have been founded on Christian principles 1,000 years ago, adding that this Christianity and Christian culture was defining in Hungarians’ everyday lives and holidays to this day.

She said it was Christianity that bound Europe together, adding that “when we say that Europe needs diversity, it is meant within Christianity”. The president said Europe was diverse enough through its different peoples who all had different histories, customs, cultures, languages even though they were linked by their shared Christian culture.

Meanwhile, Novak said Egypt also set an example of how Muslims and Christians could coexist, expressing appreciation for Pope Tawadros II’s role in promoting dialogue between the two faiths.

Underlining the importance of families, Novak said there was an average of three children per family in Egypt compared with less than two in Hungary. She added that she wanted to understand how young Hungarians could be encouraged to have children and families.

Concerning the aiding of persecuted Christians, the president said Hungarians felt responsible for their Christian brethren regardless of where they lived in the world. Hungary has helped the Coptic community on numerous occasions, she said, adding that they could count on Hungary in the future as well.

Speaking about her visit to Egypt, Novak noted that on Monday she had met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for the first time. She said their meeting had gone on longer than planned because Hungarians and Egyptians both respected the other nation along with their culture and differences, but also found their similarities.

Novak also met two Coptic women who were severely injured in a terrorist attack in Cairo’s Coptic cathedral in December 2016. At the meeting at the scene of the attack, the two women thanked Hungarians for the help they received during their rehabilitation in Budapest.

The president then travelled on to Giza on a train manufactured in Hungary.


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