Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Pope Tawadros II. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Presidency
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi sent his greetings to the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Sea of Saint Mark Tawadros II on Saturday for the the occasion of Coptic Easter, scheduled for Sunday 2 May.
According to a statement by the presidency’s spokesman, El-Sisi praised the “kind bond and sincere feelings” that unite all Egyptian people: Muslims and Christians, praying for God Almighty to preserve and bless Egypt and its great people with goodness, peace and progress.
The president also sent his Easter greetings to Egyptian Copts abroad, wishing them success and repayment.
Coptic Orthodox Christians – who comprise a substantial majority of Christians in Egypt – celebrate Holy Saturday today, which is Easter eve and it is when Copts usually go to church before gathering at night to celebrate and break their 55-day fast.
Yesterday was Good Friday, which is part of the Holy Week that started with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday. It witnessed Tawadros II leading the prayers at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, in Cairo's Abbassiya district, with limited attendance due to the pandemic.
The religious week has been continuously disrupted due to the pandemic for a second year now, with attendance limited to Church officials in order to stem the spread of the virus in the country.
All precautionary measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the religious festival.
The majority of dioceses will adopt a set of precautionary measures against the pandemic, including holding masses at a capacity of 25 percent of the congregation as well as giving access to people who reserve a place in the church in advance.
However, according to an official statement, congregants are not allowed to attend masses during the whole Holy Week at more than 18 dioceses in 13 Egyptian governorates because of coronavirus concerns.