The following excerpt is from yesterday’s Wednesday audience of the Holy Father in which he offered a reflection on the life of St. Francis. This particular passage concerns St. Francis’ meeting with the sultan in Egypt in 1219, (my unofficial translation from the Italian):
Also the successor of Innocent III, Pope Honorius III, with the bull Cum dilecti of 1218 supported the singular development of the first Friars Minor, who went opening missions in various countries of Europe, and in Morocco. In 1219 Francis obtained permission to go and speak, in Egypt, with the Muslim sultan Melek-el-Kâmel, in order to preach the Gospel of Jesus there also. I wish to underscore that this episode of the life of Saint Francis that has great relevance. In an age marked by an ongoing conflict between Christianity and Islam, Francis, armed only with the faith and his personal gentleness, effectively followed the path of dialogue. The reports speak about a benevolent acceptance and cordial reception to us from the Muslim sultan. It is a model that even today must inspire relations between Christian and Muslims: promote dialogue in truth, in reciprocal respect and mutual understanding. (cfr Nostra Aetate, 3).