Pope Tawadros II leads the Christmas mass in the new Administrative Capital – Egypt Today
CAIRO – 7 January 2018: Pope Tawadros II of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church led the first Orthodox Christmas mass ever at the new Nativity of Christ Cathedral in the New Administrative Capital on Saturday evening.
"Our message to the world is that all Egyptians stand united in the face of terrorism that targets everyone, not only the Copts,” Pope Tawadros II said in a statement to Egypt Today.
The pope stressed that terrorism cannot intimidate the Christians and “we will keep going to churches to pray for Egypt.”
He added that “there is no difference between a Muslim and a Christian here. We are all part of this land, and all Egyptians are responsible for confronting extremist ideas and terrorism.”
Coptic Orthodox Egyptians, who make up around 90 percent of all Christians in the country, celebrate Christmas on January 7.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and other top state officials witnessed the mass for the third time in a row.
In January 2017, Sisi commissioned the construction of the country’s largest mosque and church in the New Administrative Capital to become symbols of coexistence and national unity.
The Nativity of Christ Cathedral would be the largest church in the Middle East, with a capacity to accommodate 8,200 worshippers.
Pope Tawadros II commended President Sisi for fulfilling his promise to hold this year’s mass in the New Administrative Capital.
He also extended his gratitude to the Egyptian government for reconstruction and restoration of the St. Peter and St. Paul’s Churches in Cairo that were hit by two separate blasts in December 2016.
“The president always supports us, and our role is to support him. Egypt needs all of us to unite and work together to achieve a better future for our children.”
The country’s New Administrative Capital is set to be completed in 2020 and is part of the government’s plan to expand urban areas to deal with the country's rapid population growth and improve the nation's infrastructure.
The new cathedral stands at the heart of a large complex built on 15 feddans and includes a papal residence, a reception hall, meeting halls and offices.
“I would like to thank the political leadership, every security man and every person who worked in the Administrative Capital and made an effort to show it in this way. This is a pride for all Egyptians,” Tawadros concluded.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Abdel Maguid