Unprecedented Christmas visit
photo: Nader Osama
PRESIDENT Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in an unparalleled precedent for an Egyptian leader attended the Christmas celebration at the Abbassiya Cathedral, Cairo, Tuesday midnight mass. Al-Sisi’s visit marked the first attendance ever made by an Egyptian president to the religious occasion.
“It was necessary for me to attend this year’s Christmas celebrations and wish you a ‘Happy New Year’. I hope that I didn’t interrupt your prayers,” Al-Sisi said during his brief address to the celebrations’ mass.
Al-Sisi added that Egypt, throughout thousands of years, has always taught the whole world the true meaning of humanity and civilization. “The whole world is waiting during such circumstances for Egypt to regain its position. We are still capable of learning them again the definition of humanity.
Following congratulating Egypt’s Coptic community, Al-Sisi asserted that all Egyptians are “one hand”.
As-sisi also confirmed his intention to join all Egyptians to build the new Egypt and restore its respectable position among nations. Morewover, he stressed that the unity between Muslims and Copts should last to show the strong bond between the two religions.
The majority of Egyptian Christians are Orthodox celebrate Christmas on 7 January.
Earlier in the day, former interim President Adli Mansour and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb visited the Coptic Cathedral and wished Pope Tawadros II and the Coptic community a merry Christmas.
The cathedral at Abbassiya is the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church which late president Gamal Abdel Nasser laid its foundation stone in June 1965. Nasser personally supervised its construction, offering Pope Kyrillos VI access to state contractors, and funds from the public works budget to build it.