- Middle East/North Africa
Coptic Pope Tawadros II expressed hope Sunday that God would protect Egypt and President Mohamed Morsy and prayed that the country’s affairs would be managed wisely.
During the Christmas Eve holy mass held at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbassiya, Tawadros, said, "We are praying for Egypt and for all regions where there are conflicts. We pray that God bestows happiness, peace and quiet on all places".
Tawadros greeted Copts, saying, "I greet you on the occasion of Christmas and the new year, 2013, which we are receiving in happiness."
He also told his audience that Morsy greeted him in a telephone conversation and he passed on Morsy's wishes to the audience.
Tawadros also said that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greeted him and added that Sisi sent a senior delegation to attend the holy mass.
Tawadros said he received greetings from Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar, Osama al-Saghir, assistant interior minister and Cairo security chief, Abdel Qawi Khalifa, minister of utilities, drinking water and sewage, and Nadia Zakhary, minister of scientific research.
He added that Amr Hamzawy, the president of the Freedom Egypt Party, was present at the mass, along with Ziyad al-Eleimy and Mohamed Abu Hamed, both former MPs.
Tawadros thanked the Egyptian Radio and Television, international and local news agencies and media outlets for their coverage as well as the Interior Ministry for securing the event.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm