The historic visit of Pope Francis to Cairo on 28 and 29 April made the front page of Egypt’s local newspapers on Saturday.
The Pope had a busy schedule distributed throughout Cairo. He visited the Ittihadiya palace, where he met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and participated in the International Peace Conference hosted by Al-Azhar on Friday. The Pope presided over the Eucharist celebration at the Air Defence Stadium on Saturday, followed by a visit to the Coptic Theological Seminary.
Headlines focused on statements by the Pope concerning “sending a message of unity and brotherhood”, as well as his support for Egypt, its efforts to face terrorism, and his keenness on sending a message of peace from Egypt.
The privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper highlighted the image showing Pope Francis and Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb with a headline reading “we reject violence under the name of God”. The newspaper reported that securing the Pope was the task of the military forces, as well as of 30,000 deployed police forces.
Meanwhile, the privately-owned Al-Watan newspaper focused on Al-Sisi’s statements on promoting a model of moderate Islam and the unity between religions, with an inside headline reading “Egypt unites religions on the table of peace”. The newspaper conducted interviews with several clerics on religious peace vs. terrorism and reported that 25,000 Christians attended the ceremony at the Air Defence Stadium.
State-owned media outlet Akhbar Al-Youm reported that Pope Francis led a mass in commemoration of the victims of terrorist attacks. This came as he was received at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasiya by Pope Tawadros II. The newspaper described Pope Francis as the messenger of peace.
State-owned Al-Ahram dedicated three pages to the Pope’s visit with photos of his meetings with Al-Sisi and Al-Tayeb, and focusing on the Pope’s statements supporting Egypt.
Meanwhile, Al-Shorouk newspaper reported on the baptism declaration between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The newspaper’s coverage relied on short news reporting with a story on the front page, among other topics.