Interim President Adly Mansour visited Pope Tawadros II at Abbasiya's Coptic Cathedral (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour visited Sunday Abbasiya Coptic Cathedral to wish Pope Tawadros II a merry Christmas, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.
Mansour has become Egypt's second president to visit the Coptic Cathedral after the late Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Egyptian Presidents usually extend their Christmas greetings by phone or through presidential envoys.
Pope Tawadros welcomed Mansour on behalf of Fathers of the Church, the General Congregation Council and the Ministry of Endowments.
According to Tawadros, Mansour's good sentiments and affection portray a "beautiful message" to Egyptians.
Mansour was eager to send greetings to the Pope to show the country`s appreciation to the role of the Church in the face of any conflicts that might threaten national harmony.
He also stressed that the unity between Muslims and Copts should last to show the strong bond between the two religions.
The spokesperson of the presidency, Ambassador Ihab Badawi, expressed that Mansour "was keen to show Pope Twadros II the appreciation of Egypt to all the efforts of the Coptic citizens who have been working for the welfare and interest of the country."
The majority of Egyptian Christians are Orthodox who start the Christmas celebrations on 7 January.
Egyptian Christians have faced tough times since the ouster of Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi in July. After a bloody police crackdown on two pro-Morsi sit-ins in August, churches were attacked, ransacked and torched across Egypt.
Some Morsi supporters accuse the Christian minority of being behind the ouster of Morsi.
Amnesty International described Christians as being "scapegoated" after the crackdown on Islamists. The London-based rights group said security forces failed to protect the Christian minority from a nationwide wave of attacks.
Amnesty's report, issued in October, stated that upwards of 200 Christian owned properties were attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged in the wake of events in August. At least four people were killed, it added.