Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church (Photo: Reuters)
The Head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II led on Monday a mass celebrating the entry of Jesus Christ into Egypt without attendees under unprecedented measures undertaken to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
According to state run MENA news agency, Pope Tawadros II led the mass on Monday morning from Maadi’s Virgin Mary Church.
The mass comes a few days after Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said on Saturday that it would extend the suspension of prayers and activities in its churches until 27 June due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The Church has decided to extend the suspension of prayers, but allowed the celebration of the mass marking the entry of Jesus Christ into Egypt on 1 June and the mass of Pentecost on 7 June with the limited attendance of six monks and deacons.
Egypt's Christians make up about 10-14 percent of the country's 100 million-plus population, with the vast majority of Christians in Egypt belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church.
In the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has interrupted several religious celebrations by the Church, mainly Easter in April.
Last April, Pope Tawadros II led Easter mass without attendees at the desert Monastery of Saint Bishoy in Wadi El-Natrun over the virus.
The outbreak has forced Copts to celebrate Easter at home, as Egypt continues with its unprecedented measures to stem the spread of the virus, including a nationwide night-time curfew and suspension of prayers and activities at all houses of worship.
This is the first time that Easter mass has been held under the current patriarch at a location other than Cairo’s Saint Mark's Cathedral and without attendants or worshippers.