Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church head Pope Tawadros II leads quiet Christmas mass held amid strict COVID-19 restrictions (Photo Courtesy of Coptic Orthodox Church)
The Head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, led on Wednesday a quiet Christmas mass due to coronavirus restrictions, with the pope urging a strict adherence to preventive measures amid the second wave of the pandemic.
Heading the mass from the Monastery of Saint Bishoy in Beheira’s Wadi Al-Natrun, with no worshippers, Pope Tawadros called for a strict adherence to coronavirus related restrictions, with the Church praying for the health and wellbeing of all Egyptians amid the pandemic.
“We have to be careful about the preventive measures in our lives, church, workplace, and families. I know the [restrictions] on masses upset some, but this is for your protection. Gatherings are a source of infection, and indifference will spread it,” he said as he led the mass attended only by several bishops and monks.
He said that Christmas represents “joy”, hoping that the pandemic ends globally this year.
Pope Tawadros II also said that adhering to simplicity in life gives humans happiness, with happiness not “only limited to money, property, and others”.
The Church decided to hold the usually festive mass with only a limited number of participants over fears of the coronavirus, as the overpopulous country entered the second wave of the pandemic in the end of December.
The mass came hours after President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi sent his good wishes and greetings in a video conference call on Wednesday evening to Pope Tawadros II and all Egyptians for Christmas.
El-Sisi confirmed to Pope Tawadros II his keenness on personally participating in the Christmas mass to congratulate Coptic brothers and take part in their celebrations.
The Egyptian president has been attending the Coptic Christmas mass for the past few years.
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.
The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted several religious celebrations by the church.