Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church announced on Wednesday that its Christmas mass on 7 January 2018 will be held for the first time at the newly built cathedral in the new administrative capital, MENA news agency reported.
In January 2017, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced that the country’s largest mosque and church would be built at the new capital as a symbol of coexistence, following the terrorist attack that killed at least 27 people in December 2016 at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in central Cairo.
Since 1969, the Coptic Orthodox Church had held its Christmas mass at the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo.
Egypt's interior ministry announced on Tuesday that police will be on high-security alert during Christmas celebrations, which start next week, with 230,000 security personnel to secure 2,626 churches nationwide.
Egyptian churches have been targeted repeatedly by Islamist terrorists in recent years.
The country’s new administrative capital is set to be completed in 2020.
Located some 40 km to the east of Cairo, the under-construction city is part of the government’s plan to expand urban areas to deal with the country's rapid population growth and improve the nation's infrastructure.
The government has started building 25,000 residential units in the city so far.