Cairo, April 13 (IANS) Due to an ongoing lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Coptic Christians across Egypt witnessed a virtual Palm Sunday Mass while staying at home.
The mass on Sunday led by Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria was broadcast online and on TV for the Christian community – who represent 10 per cent of Egypt’s population, reports Efe news.
“Before the appearance of the disease (the churches) were quite full, but today we must think that life must change,” the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria said, adding that “it is important to follow the (precautionary) measures”.
“Today under the circumstances of the epidemic, we tell God: ‘Come dwell within us,'” Tawadros II said at the Mass, which was attended by only a few priests and archbishops at the Monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi El Natrun in Beheira, north of Cairo.
This year, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community celebrated the Mass at the St. Pishoy monastery and not at the Cathedral of Abaseya, located in central Cairo, where the annual Mass usually takes place.
The Wadi El Natrun religious site, located in the desert northwest of Cairo, comprises monasteries, residences and churches.
The site has even served as a refuge for the religious and Coptic popes persecuted in the past.
Coptic Holy Week began on Sunday and will last until April 19, when Egyptian Christians celebrate Easter.
This year, there will be no Masses or other ceremonies or rites at which people physically gather due to the restrictions imposed by the Cairo government to deal with the coronavirus, including the closure of mosques and churches in late March.
Egypt has registered nearly 2,000 coronavirus cases and 146 deaths, according to the Health Ministry’s most recent figures.