Egypt's Pope Tawadros II praying during the inauguration of the Abbasya Cathedral on Sunday November 18, 2018 (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Pope Tawadros II re-consecrated a newly renovated St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday, marking fifty years since the building was first inaugurated.
In a sermon last week, the pope stated that the celebration of the cathedral’s golden jubilee would be limited to liturgical prayers only, due to what he described as "painful events" of the incident of the monastery of St. Samuel.
Seven Copts were killed and 15 others injured when armed men attacked their bus near the Upper Egyptian monastery earlier this month.
The cathedral was under heavy security for the consecration ceremony.
During the service, a number of bishops anointed the icons of saints with holy myron oil.
The pope then conducted prayers, and anointed parts of the inner sanctuary with oil.
In his sermon, Tawadros said that the cathedral was built in 1965, the era of Pope Kirollos IV and President Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
He said that it had officially opened in 1968 with the presence of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and President Nasser.
"We were keen to show some of the events that took place during the past fifty years, especially the attacks, so for example we have an icon for the martyrs of Libya, as well as the names of some of the martyrs of Alexandria, Tanta and the Monastery of St Samuel," said the pope, referring to new icons in the cathedral.
He added that it now has a total of 200 icons.
The cathedral, located in Cairo's Abbasiya district, has been the Coptic Orthodox Church’s papal headquarters since Pope Shenouda III decided to reside there in 1971.