22 January 2018
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  • » 01/07/2014, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Coptic Orthodox celebrate Christmas under tight security but without violence



    In Cairo and throughout Egypt army and police control access to the churches. For the first time since Nasser a President visits the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Abasseya . Tawadros II : The birth of Jesus "brings hope, courage and a new life".

    Cairo ( AsiaNews) - The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox celebrated Christmas in the hope of a "new life" brought by the birth of Jesus and in fear of attacks by Islamic extremists. Last night, thousands of people attended the traditional vigil in the cathedral of Abasseya (Cairo ) , presided over by Patriarch Tawadros II.

    After yesterday's clashes between police and the Muslim Brotherhood claimed the lives of 13 people and the arrest of some terrorists who were preparing a series of attacks against Christian churches, the army stepped up security measures compared to previous years. In Cairo, the streets around the religious buildings were closed and the police checked the influx of faithful with checkpoints and metal detectors.

    According to many of the faithful the authorities' commitment to the safety of Christians has created a different climate than in years past . "Last year we were afraid - Monica explains to Ahram Online - I'm not saying that we could not pray or anything like that. But we fear for the future of Christians. The President [ Morsi ] was turning into a dictator and was only interested in serving his group and Muslims". The woman describes the December 5 visit to the Abasseya Cathedral of the President Mansour Adly as a great gesture.  Adly is the first President to do so since the days of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser , who visited the cathedral in 1960.

    In his Christmas message, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church pointed to the significance of the visit of the Magi from the east, who offered gifts to the Infant King . For the patriarch these gifts represent human life "characterized by gold, incense and myrrh". "This - he said - means that everyone in his life has golden days, days, days of incense and of myrrh ." Thanking bishops, priests, deacons and lay people for their commitment to the Church, Tawadros said that "the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ gives us hope, courage and a new life".

    The vigilant calm of Cairo and the rest of the country, however, was obscured by some attacks against Christians in Upper Egypt . Yesterday at Ezbet Treks in the province of Qena (Upper Egypt), a group of extremists threw stones at Coptic homes and burned one of their stores . The assault was triggered by an argument over the renting of a room. Bishop Kyrillos of Nag Hammadi stresses that the security forces were able to contain the tensions and the Nag Hammadi Police Commissioner Mahmoud Moawad convened a meeting with Muslim villagers to gather information on the facts and arrest the culprits.

     

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    See also

    07/01/2010 EGYPT
    Nag Hamadi: armed commando attacks Coptic Christians, seven dead and three wounded
    The incident happened at midnight last night, after Christmas Mass which the Coptic Church celebrates Christmas on January 7. The attack was revenge for an alleged case of sexual assault against a twelve year old, which occurred last November.

    19/01/2013 EGYPT
    Upper Egypt, thousands of Islamic extremists attack a Christian village
    The second case in less than a week. The attack took place yesterday in el-Marashda, predominantly Christian, in the province of Quena (Upper Egypt). Muslims burned at least six homes of Coptic Christians and tried to demolish the local church. Wrath unleashed at the alleged rape of a Muslim girl by a Christian. Village Iman calls on youth to protect Christian shops.

    14/04/2011 EGYPT
    Soul, first Mass in the Coptic church burned down by Islamic extremists
    Over 700 people attended the celebration. The reconstruction of the church of St. Mina and St. George took place thanks to the army. The Copts complain of the failure to arrest Islamic extremists responsible for the sttack and announce new protests.

    29/01/2014 EGYPT
    Cairo, Coptic Orthodox church attacked. One dead.
    A group of Islamists attacked the church of the Virgin Mary: a police officer shot down in the battle. One of the assailants was apprehended by residents, the second was arrested by the police later that evening.

    27/11/2008 ISLAM - EGYPT
    Thousands of Muslims attack Coptic church in Cairo
    On the day of the inauguration of a church in the suburbs of the Egyptian capital, Islamic demonstrators have attacked the building, forcing about 800 faithful to barricade themselves inside the church.



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