By John Martin

Roman Catholic and Coptic churches have agreed to recognize each other’s baptisms. The decision was disclosed in a common declaration signed on April 28 by Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Francis was on a solidarity visit to Egypt in the wake of the Palm Sunday bombings that left 47 Coptic Christians dead and many injured.

Under the agreement, the churches undertake not to repeat baptisms done by the other church. This long-standing practice followed the split between the two churches dating from the Council of Chalcedon (451).

The statement commits the churches to work together for a shared formulation of the Lord’s Prayer and a common date for celebrating Easter. While in Egypt, Pope Francis addressed a peace conference hosted by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar.

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