Speech to Parliament: Welcoming Coptic Pope Tawadros to Australia

On Sunday, I was honoured to attend the official reception for His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church internationally, to welcome him on his first visit to Australia since his ordination in 2012.

I was fortunate to join a thousand members of Sydney’s Coptic community to welcome the 118th Pope of Alexandria and the See of St Mark.

Australia is home to the third largest Coptic community outside Egypt, with the first migrants arriving to Australia in 1969. According to the church, there are more than 100,000 Copts in Australia, with 70,000 of those living in Sydney and many of them have chosen to live in the community that I represent in Kingsford Smith which has a strong and vibrant Coptic community centred around the St George Coptic Orthodox Church in Kensington.

This Church was established in July 1973, and the local Church maintains strong ties to the community providing spiritual guidance to many followers including many wonderful young people.

In recent times, the Coptic community has been victim to horrendous acts of terrorism, including the bombing of St Mark’s Cathedral last year, which killed 13 people.

The Pope’s visit will serve to strengthen the faith of Australia’s Church followers and I welcome Pope Tawadros II wish him all the very best on his visit to Australia.

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