The Head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II led Maundy Thursday at the Mediterranean city of Alexandria’s Deir Mar Mina without worshippers amid a spike in coronavirus infections nationwide. The fifth day of the Holy Week was only attended by the monasteries’ heads and monks.
This comes a few days after Pope Tawadros II stressed the necessity of adhering to a 25 percent attendance rate in churches to confront a new sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the country.
Earlier this month, several Egyptian Coptic monasteries banned visits in the upcoming period until Easter due to a coronavirus spike.
Several dioceses in 13 Egyptian governorates also decided to halt masses and congregational services during the holy week and Easter over the same concerns.
Congregants in these dioceses will not be allowed to attend mass during the Holy Week that includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which is Easter’s eve, when Copts usually go to church before gathering at night to celebrate and break their 55-day fast.
The first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020 forced Egyptians to celebrate Easter at home, as the country saw unprecedented measures to stem the spread of the virus, including a nationwide night-time curfew as well as the suspension of all prayers and activities at all houses of worship.