Coptic Egyptians headed on Sunday to churches across Egypt to celebrate Palm Sunday, the seventh Sunday of the Great Lent before Resurrection Sunday. They accompanied their families and friends carrying palm fronds, a symbol of victory and goodness, while children held crosses and other accessories made of fronds. This came as other Christians around the world celebrated Easter.
Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II led on Sunday the Palm Sunday mass at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Santa Marina in Egypt’s North Coast, with a large attendance of priests and Christians, state-run Middle East News Agency reported. “Pray that God’s mercy overwhelms all people,” Pope Tawadros II told worshipers.
The pope’s convoy entered the church area amid Christian songs related to the event, as Coptic Egyptians and deacons carried flowers and palm fronds in remembrance of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis led Easter Sunday mass at St Peter’s Square in Rome, amid tens of thousands of worshipers and under heavy security procedures. He said that Jesus’ death and resurrection provide hope to a world marred by conflict. “A hope that doesn’t disappoint,” Pope Francis said on Sunday.
Palm Sunday carries a memory of terror for Egyptian Christians last year, as at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 were injured, after two churches in Tanta and Alexandria were bombed a week before Orthodox Easter. The Coptic pope was leading the mass at one of them at that time but was unharmed. The Islamic State group, which previously launched attacks against Christians in Egypt, had claimed responsibility for the two attacks.