(TRUNEWS) Pope Francis met with the highest figure in Sunni Islam Monday.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb flew to the Vatican to meet with the pontiff, in a historic gathering that ended with hugs and kisses. He is the head of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque.
“Our meeting is the message,” Francis said in a brief comment to a small pool of reporters, as reported by AFP.
The mosque issued a statement claiming the invitation was accepted to “explore the efforts to spread peace and coexistence.”
Federico Lombardo, a spokesman for the Vatican said the pope and imam addressed the “common challenges faced by the authorities and the faithful of one of the major religions of the world. These included working together for world peace, rejecting violence and terrorism and the situation and protection of Christians against a backdrop of conflict and terrorism in the Middle East.”
The event lasted about 30 minutes and has been described as “very cordial”. Tayeb made the decision to fly to Rome last week, after receiving an invitation from Pope Francis.
They also discussed promoting “true Islam”.
There had been tensions after Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor, gave a speech where he talked about Islam and violence. The incident was condemned by leaders in Pakistan and Turkey. Christian churches were set on fire.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II met with the grand imam, and it seemed to help relations between them, according to Daily Mail.
Revelation 17:1-18 explains some characteristics of a one-world religion, which will dominate all the “peoples and multitudes of nations and tongues”.