Europe

Pope tells Egypt ahead of visit he comes as peace messenger

  • People are seen through the stain glass, of the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, April 24, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    People are seen through the stain glass, of the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, April 24, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Worshippers pray during a service at Saint Cyrill Greek Catholic Church, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt this week, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Worshippers pray during a service at Saint Cyrill Greek Catholic Church, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt this week, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Catholic Priest Rafic Greiche preaches at Saint Cyrill Greek Catholic Church, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Catholic Priest Rafic Greiche preaches at Saint Cyrill Greek Catholic Church, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has told the Egyptian people he is coming to Cairo this week as a friend and a "messenger of peace."

In a videotaped message released on Tuesday, Francis also says he hopes the pilgrimage will "be an embrace of consolation and of encouragement to all Christians in the Middle East."

Twin bombings of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday this month killed 44 people.

Francis departs for Cairo on Friday and returns on Saturday.

He wished the "dear people of Egypt" peace and said he was coming "with a joyful and grateful heart."

Francis expressed hope that his trip might also "offer a valid contribution to interreligious dialogue with the Islamic world, and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerated and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church."