Benedict XVI used his epiphany mass on Thursday to encourage Orthodox churches, among them Egypt's Copts, to remain strong in the face of adversity dpa repordet
"I direct my heart and my greetings to the brothers and sisters in the Orthodox churches, who celebrate their Christmas tomorrow," the head of the Roman Catholic church said in his sermon.
"May the goodness of God that appears in Jesus come to the aid of those communities that have been put to the test," he said.
The message comes a week after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people outside a Coptic Church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, just as worshippers were celebrating a New Year's mass.
In his New Year's message last week the pontiff called for religious freedom to be respected and protected around the world