Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb (L) and Pope Tawadros II (R) at the main cathedral of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church in Abbasiya, Cairo, Egypt, December 26, 2019 (Photo: Al-Azhar)
A high-level delegation of Egypt's top Islamic institutions Al-Azhar and Dar Al-Iftaa visited Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral on Thursday to offer Christmas greetings to Coptic Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of St. Mark Diocese.
Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb and ُُEgypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam headed the delegation that comprised a number of senior Muslim clerics.
El-Tayeb said that the mutual feelings of compassion, cordiality, and visits between Muslims and Christians stem from religious teachings that commanded people to get along with each other, according to a statement by Al-Azhar sent to Ahram Online.
"All prophets' recommendations stressed the necessity of spreading the spirit of brotherhood among people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds," he said.
The visit of top Muslim clerics to the main cathedral of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church in Abbasiya, Cairo on Thursday
Coptic Orthodox Christians, who comprise the majority of Egypt's Christians, celebrate Christmas on 7 January, following the Julian calendar. This is almost two weeks after most Western denominations, including Catholics and Protestants, hold their celebrations on 25 December.
Christians make up around 10 percent of Egypt’s population.
Tawadros said holidays are "bridges that connect all of us as loved ones living on the same land and with common history and homeland."
During the visit, El-Tayeb warned against "black clouds" of Western traditions that are "uprooting Eastern women... destroying families and dismantling Eastern society," Al-Azhar said in a statement on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, the Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa and a ministry delegation visited the pope to extend Christmas felicitations.