Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II begins his first pastoral visit to the UK on Friday.
He is scheduled to visit Coptic parishes across the country, officiating at liturgical services and performing several consecrations, while also meeting with parishioners.
Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, will receive Pope Tawadros on Friday and accompany him throughout his stay.
The bishop said: “This is a historic visit, not only of the 118th Pope of Alexandria to the United Kingdom, but more personally for His Holiness Pope Tawadros, as his first engagement with his flock across Britain. For Coptic Christians here, it will be an opportunity to spend time with the head of their Church, and their spiritual father.
“This has been a difficult year for Christians in Egypt with recent and ongoing attacks, and thus the visit will also be an opportunity for their brothers and sisters to hear directly from His Holiness about the situation there, and how they can provide greater support for them.”
Tawadros’s visit comes days after hishistoric meeting with Pope Francis in Egypt, at which the two leaders signed an agreement to recognise the sacrament of baptism performed in each other’s churches.
Previously, the Coptic Orthodox Church had required those joining from the Catholic Church to be re-baptised.
On Palm Sunday this year, 45 people were killed in simultaneous attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt.
In his speech to Pope Tawadros and other Coptic Orthodox leaders, Pope Francis said: “The innocent blood of defenceless Christians was cruelly shed.”
“Your sufferings are also our sufferings,” he added.