(Photo: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)
Pope Francis called for the spread of peace and the end of enmity and division in the Middle East. His Holiness also called on ensuring religious freedom for all and the preservation of Christians' rights to live in peace where they were born.
"The Lord Jesus, who escaped with the Holy Family, and was received in your generous land [Egypt], is the one who watches over the people of Egypt who look for dignity and security," His Holiness said.
The Pope pointed out this is the first time he has met with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch and that Christians living in Egypt suffer from insecurity and fear.
Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak, Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, sent a message to Pope Francis, "With great respect, I thank Your Holiness for making room for us to celebrate with you."
He said that Egypt was the first place to receive the Holy Family, when they escaped Herod's persecution.
"We, as children, are in need of support that only you, the successor of Peter the Apostle, can give," he added. "Let Christmas lights be the star that reveals the path of love and unity, reconciliation and peace. We ask for your blessings, o' Holy Father, and wait for you in Egypt."