Caption: Egypt’s Pope Tawadros II leads the “Good Friday” prayers at the Abbassiya Cathedral, 30 April (Photo Courtesy of the Coptic Orthodox Church)
Head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II led the holy Good Friday prayers at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, in Cairo's Abbassiya district, with limited attendance.
Good Friday - celebrated internationally - marks Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death at Calvary, according to biblical beliefs.
It is also known in Egypt as “Sad Friday," "Great Friday" or "Holy Friday”. On this day, the main Church in Egypt: the Coptic Church, holds prayers from the early morning until around 5pm.
A number of bishops, renowned Archdeacon Ibrahim Ayad and a small number of people attended the prayers at the Cathedral amid strict coronavirus measures, a statement by the Coptic Orthodox Church read.
According to biblical beliefs, Jesus was arrested and sentenced to death after he was accused of blasphemy.
Jesus carried his cross to the site of his execution. The site is called "Golgotha" in Hebrew, or the place of the skull, while in Latin it is known as "Calvary". There he was crucified along with two convicted criminals.
Jesus was agonised on the cross for six hours. According to the New Testament, during his last three hours on the cross (from noon to 3pm), darkness fell across the land and Jesus gave up his spirit with a loud cry.
The cross for all Christians symbolises essential belief in the Christian faith.
Yesterday, Pope Tawadros II also led 'Maundy Thursday' at the Mediterranean city of Alexandria’s Deir Mar Mina without worshippers amid a spike in coronavirus infections nationwide.
This comes a few days after Pope Tawadros II stressed the necessity of adhering to a 25 percent attendance rate at churches to confront a new sharp increase in coronavirus cases within the country.
During his sermon on Thursday, Pope Tawadros highlighted the need to strictly adhere to all precautionary measures as the first defense line against the pandemic, the Coptic Orthodox Church’s statement read.
Addressing an audience through video, Pope Tawadros urged viewers to keep washing their hands, wearing masks, maintaining a social distance, staying at well-ventilated areas and eating healthy food.
Earlier this month, several Egyptian Coptic monasteries had banned visits for the upcoming period up until Easter due to the coronavirus spike.
Several dioceses, in 13 Egyptian governorates, also decided to halt masses and congregational services during the holy week and the period of Easter over the same concerns.
Egypt is currently suffering from a third coronavirus wave and the number of new daily cases rose above 1,000, on the past three days, for the first time since 9 January.
Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Saturday that a spike in coronavirus cases throughout April had been expected due to religious occasions, including the holy month of Ramadan and related social habits.
As the country has started its vaccination campaign in January, Zayed urged - at a press conference - medical workers, the elderly and other priority groups to not hesitate in registering to take the vaccine.