Last Update 22:51
Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Heavy security at Egypt's churches ahead of Coptic Christmas

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Jan 2015
Saint Mark
A special forces police officer stands guard to secure the area around Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral before a Coptic Christmas mass in Cairo January 6, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 4025
Share/Bookmark
Views: 4025

The Egyptian authorities have increased security at churches nationwide ahead of 7 January, when Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas.

Security is typically tight at churches on major holidays. On New Year’s Day in 2011, a deadly bombing at a church in Alexandria killed 23 people.

On Tuesday, unknown gunmen shot and killed two Egyptian policemen guarding a Catholic church in the southern Egyptian city of Minya.

The Catholic church has reportedly cancelled planned celebrations to mark 7 January, in a spirit of mourning.

Osama Metwaly, head of Minya's security directorate, said a "terrorist group" was behind the attack, aiming to stir chaos in the country and to retaliate against the police.

Militant attacks on security forces have become common since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, with dozens of security personnel killed by bombings, shootings and other attacks.

Churches and Christian properties have also come under attack by extremists, most notably on 14 August 2013 when a wave of violence following the violent dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest camps saw dozens of churches razed to the ground.

Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, is to lead the annual sermon at Cairo’s Abbasiya cathedral late on Tuesday, with the attendance of a number of state officials as well as thousands of worshippers.

Coptic Orthodox Christians, who make up around 90 percent of Egypt’s Christians, break their 43-day fast and celebrate Christmas on 7 January, almost two weeks after most Western denominations. The difference results from the use of different calendars.

The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Mathias I, will visit Egypt for the first time on Saturday, three days after Christmas.

The Egyptian and Ethiopian churches are seen to have played a role in the negotiations between both countries regarding the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, which Cairo is concerned could have an adverse effect on Egypt's water supply. 

 

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.