Pope Francis on November 7, 2017, received Ahmed Muhammad al-Tayyib, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, and several companions in a private meeting at the Vatican.
A photo was released, but no details of the discussions.
Pope Francis first met the Grand Imam on May 23, 2016, at the Vatican. It marked the first such encounter between a Pope and the Imam of Al-Azhar, who many Muslims consider to be the highest authority in Sunni Islam.
According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office following the 2016 encounter, the meeting between Francis and the Imam of Al-Azhar who heads Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque and Al-Azhar University, considered to be the most authoritative theological-academic institution of Sunni Islam, lasted about 30 minutes and their discussions were “very cordial.”
The two religious leaders, the statement noted, acknowledged “the great significance of this new meeting in the framework of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam.” They also discussed “the common commitment of the authorities and the faithful of the great religions for peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of Christians in the context of conflicts and tensions in the Middle East and their protection.”