Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism, today greeted the leader of the ancient Coptic Orthodox Church upon his arrival in Toronto, on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada.
Pope Tawadros II, who became the 118th leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church on November 19, 2012, arrived in Toronto this evening to officially begin his month-long Canadian visit. His first trip to Canada will include the consecration of the first Coptic cathedral in North America, Markham’s St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church, visits to other parishes across Canada, meetings with religious leaders, and the delivery of a lecture at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, joined Minister Kenney in Toronto to greet Pope Tawadros.
- Copts are among the oldest Christian communities in the world, having preserved their traditions for nearly two millennia in Egypt. Canada is home to some 50,000 Coptic Orthodox Christians.
- In March 2013, Pope Tawadros II appointed Canada's first Coptic bishop, Bishop Mina.
- Minister Kenney attended the Enthronement of His Holiness in Cairo, Egypt in November, 2012 on behalf of the Government of Canada.
Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism
“Canada is pleased to welcome Pope Tawadros, his visit marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the first Coptic Orthodox community in North America. Through our Office of Religious Freedom we continue to work with the community in Egypt and elsewhere to promote the rights of Coptic Christians as well as to protect all those threatened and persecuted around the world.”
Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom