AFRICA/EGYPT - Coptic Christmas: Egyptian President visits Patriarch Tawadros

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - After the concerns of the vigil, the Coptic Christians of Egypt are celebrating Christmas marked by the consistent deployment of means of protection put in place by the army and police forces. In many areas of the Country security measures in front of churches and monasteries have been strengthened to reduce the risk of attacks and ensure the peaceful conduct of liturgical celebrations. Since last August, at least 48 Christian churches have been subject to attacks and assaults. In several cities, the circulation of vehicles on the streets adjacent to the Christian places of worship was interrupted, with the installation of metal barriers.
From a political point of view, the Christmas celebrations this year were anticipated by the eloquent gesture of ad interim President, Adli Mansour, who on 5 January, in view of the Christmas celebrations paid a visit and at present has a strong symbolic value: it was since the time of President Gamal Abd el- Nasser that an Egyptian President did not personally go to visit the Patriarch at Christmas. Nasser's successors had limited themselves to sending the head of the Coptic Church greetings by phone or through representatives. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 07/01/2014)