Cairo, Egypt, November 19, 2012 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement after attending the Coptic Patriarchal Enthronement of Pope Tawadros II yesterday:
“I am honoured to have attended the Enthronement of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, now the 118th Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.
“Pope Tawadros II deserves our congratulations as he begins his new responsibilities as the spiritual father of the Coptic Orthodox Church worldwide. He will work to strengthen ecumenical relations with sister churches, and provide leadership and spiritual direction to Copts in Egypt and around the world.
“This is a momentous occasion for Coptic Christians. The last patriarchal enthronement was 41 years ago, in November of 1971, for Pope Shenouda III. I had the honour and privilege to meet with the late Pope Shenouda III in Egypt and also welcomed him to Canada. He was a powerful voice for religious freedom and a great defender of human rights.
“This enthronement, however, occurs in a much-changed world since the last. Coptic Christians, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, have recently been victims of escalating persecution and violence. Pope Tawadros II now takes on the responsibility of guiding and protecting the Coptic Church in the midst of these difficulties.
“As Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my best wishes to Pope Tawadros II and to all Coptic Canadians on this joyous occasion.”