New Cathedral Dedicated on the Eve of Coptic Orthodox Christmas

Dedication of new Coptic cathedral in Egypt

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated the Al-Fattah Al-Aleem Mosque and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ on Coptic Christmas Eve January 6 in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital in the desert east of Cairo—symbolic of his commitment to ensure free exercise of religion in the country.

Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, said in his speech that Al-Sisi kept his promise, and thanked him and the armed forces for ensuring the construction of the building completed in time for its timely dedication.

Al-Sissi referred to the anti-Coptic terrorism that has plagued the country. “This is a historic and important moment,” he said. “But we still have to protect the tree of love we planted here together today because seditions never end.”

His views were shared by the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the world’s primary seat of learning for Sunni Muslims, who said the Cathedral stands as a symbol in the face of “attempts to undermine the country’s stability.”

The ceremony, attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Arab dignitaries, also included recorded video messages of support from the region’s top Christian clerics as well as Pope Francis.

Pope Francis’ message began, “I greet all of you on the joyful occasion of the dedication of the new Cathedral of the Nativity, built in the new administrative capital. May the Prince of Peace give to Egypt, the Middle East and the whole world the gift of peace and prosperity.”

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Middle East freedom of religion