International Orthodox Christian News

Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, has announced that he will leave Cairo to the US on February 3rd to undergo a medical examination in Cleveland Hospital, Ohio.

During his weekly sermon in the Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasiya yesterday, Pope Shenouda said the next week’s sermon would be canceled due to his travel. The Pontifical Office has stressed that the Pope’s travel comes within the framework of a periodic follow-up of his health condition and there is nothing disturbing or serious.

The Pope will be accompanied by his secretary bishop Johannes and Secretary of the Pontifical Office bishop Ieremia. The visit will not be less than 18 days. The Church has not denied reports that the Pope’s visit at this time is not only for the follow-up treatment, but it is also a prelude to President Mubarak’s visit to the US next April. The Pope will ask symbols of the expatriate Copts not to stage demonstrations against Mubarak and Egypt during Mubarak’s first visit with the US new president Barack Obama, ecclesiastical sources said.

The sources linked the Pope’s travel to the Egyptian government committee’s failure to calm the atmosphere during a meeting with the Copts in Canada. This led to canceling a similar visit to meet with Copts in the US. For their part, presidential sources have confirmed that Mubarak’s visit to Washington next April aims to congratulate the new US president. Mubarak has not made any visits to the United States since 2003 after the escalation of differences between Cairo and the Bush administration in more than a file.


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