Egypt Independent

Coptic Pope leads Greek Orthodox Christmas Mass, visits Catholic church

Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, visited the St Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church on Monday to show respect to the Greek Orthodox community while they celebrated Christmas.

He also led the mass within the church as a sign of solidarity, reported Ahram Online.

During the mass, the pope congratulated the community, saying: “Merry Christmas everyone, I hope every year we meet with the Patriarch and the people to exchange and emphasize the message of love,” reported El Youm El Sabae.

The pope also visited the Catholic Church in Cairo to personally offer love and congratulations to the Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Ishaq.

The Orthodox Church also contacted other Christian denominations as a sign of respect, despite the Orthodox Christmas being on January 7.

Al-Azhar representatives also attended different Christmas celebrations, accompanied by a state delegation sent by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

While Orthodox Christians, who make up 90 percent of the Egyptian Christian population, celebrate Christmas on January 7, Egyptian Catholics, Anglicans, and other Christian denominations celebrate Christmas on December 25.

While festivities were underway, Egyptian security tightened its grip to avoid any attacks.

Christianity is the second largest religion in Egypt after Islam. Christians account for around 15 percent of the country’s population. Christian celebrations are always a tense time for the country’s security as attacks by radical Islamic groups have often happened in past on such dates.