Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi sent on Tuesday a presidential delegation represented by Mohamed Mokhtar and Hossam Zaatar, in order to greet and attend the celebrations of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Catholics on Christmas Day.
During a visit to the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate on Tuesday, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria expressed his pleasure of the celebrations, and greeted the Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church, Ibrahim Ishaq, and all the Coptic Catholics.
In his speech, Tawadros II asserted that Christmas is a great chance to exchange tenderness and love. Meanwhile, Ishaq asserted that such religious festivals are opportunities to send messages of peace and solidarity for the whole world.
Also marking Christmas Eve, Pope Francis led a service to St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. During his speech, Pope Francis denounced the divide among the poor and rich, urging people to turn away from materialism and to focus more on love and charity.
“We understand that the food of life is not material riches but love, not gluttony but charity, not ostentation but simplicity,” Pope Francis said.
Moreover, Pope Francis also highlighted the conflicts in the Middle East, especially in Yemen, Syria, as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He called on the international community to intensify its efforts to bring relief to those who suffer from civil wars and conflicts, including children and women.
The majority of Egyptian Copts celebrate Christmas on January 7th which is a national holiday, but some Christian sects commemorate it on December 25th.
Celebrators usually attend masses and prayers in their churches, enjoying the religious festival with their families and beloved ones. When services end, people go home to eat a great Christmas meal, including all the food they abstained from during the Nativity Fast.
The Egyptian foreign ministry and the armed forces are on a high alert to secure the Coptic celebrations of the New Year and Christmas holidays.
The military said it took intensive measures to secure civilians and their celebrations, asserting that all security commanders will ensure that the military forces will secure the celebrations and address any possible threats, in cooperation with the security forces.
Likewise, the interior ministry also asserted that it will take necessary and large-scale security measures to maintain security, combat crime in all its forms, and secure civilians during their celebrations.
The security plans will include deploying security patrols and special forces at all the vital and significant areas and cities, particularly at worshipping houses, according to the ministry’s statement.
Christmas is an annual religious festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Christians across the world. It includes various traditions including the arrival of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, as well as exchanging gifts and memorable events.