In February 2006, TLIG South Africa, on the occasion of the consecration of the Coptic Cathedral in Johannesburg, met with Coptic Pope Shenouda. Brian Cross, a Coptic Theologian who has been attending our TLIG Prayer Group for a number of years, received an invitation from Bishop Markos (who has attended our prayer meetings on two occasions) for the TLIG prayer groups to attend the consecration and afterwards enjoy breakfast with His Holiness and other dignitaries. At first Brian Cross was told that only 6 people from the prayer groups could attend. However the day before the event, Bishop Markos extended the invitation to all interested in attending.

Pope Shenouda
His Holiness, Pope Shenouda with Bishop Markos and Brian Cross

We were overwhelmed by the invitation and saw this as a God given opportunity to represent TLIG. We wore the TLIG T-shirts designed for the TLIG Egypt Pilgrimage in 2002 and representatives from all four Pretoria Prayer Groups attended. We were afforded the opportunity to greet His Holiness. We reminded him of our wonderful audience with him in 2002 during the Egypt Pilgrimage (read report). He remarked that he was touched by our memory of that event! As we left, he called our group back and presented each of us with a leather Coptic cross. We were touched by his kind request that we pray for him. Brian Cross also received a commemorative medal of the event on behalf of our prayer groups.

Pope Shenouda
Pope Shenouda with TLIG Prayer Groups

For some of the prayer group members it was their first exposure to the Coptic Church. A genuine sense of unity prevailed, as there were representatives from other denominations. We caught a glimpse of the Arch Bishop of Johannesburg and were recognized by our T-shirts by Father Nadim of the Maronite Church in Johannesburg.

The experience has left us all with a zeal for unity. It was truly a Spirit filled occasion for which we thank Our Lord.

Love in the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary

TLIG Prayer Groups, Pretoria, South Africa