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Egypt opens Middle East’s biggest cathedral

  • 7 January 2019

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Pope Tawadros II (L) led a midnight mass attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R)

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has inaugurated Egypt’s largest cathedral in the new administrative capital east of Cairo, a day after a deadly bomb blast near a Coptic church.

The newly built Cathedral of Nativity had its first Mass under heavy security on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas.

On Saturday, a policeman died trying to defuse an explosive device hidden on a roof in Nasr City outside Cairo.

Copts make up about 10% of Egypt’s Muslim-majority population.

Many say the state discriminates against them and does not offer them enough protection.

Egyptian army guards outside the newly inaugurated Cathedral of Nativity in the New Administrative CapitalImage copyright
EPA


Mr Sisi, who declares himself a defender of Christians against extremists, told worshippers the simultaneous opening of the cathedral and the major Al-Fattah Al-Aleem mosque carried a message of unity.

“We are one and we will remain one,” Mr Sisi said as he opened the cathedral, referring to Egyptian Christians and Muslims.

Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East. President El-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2019

End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Christian worshippers attend the inauguration of a massive cathedral in Egypt's New Administrative Capital on January 6, 2019Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

The newly built church can hold 8,000 people

Christian worshippers attend the inauguration of a massive cathedral in Egypt"s New Administrative Capital on January 6, 2019Image copyright
AFP/Getty


Pope Francis extended greetings to Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic church, who later led a midnight mass.

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria leads a Christmas Eve mass at the newly inaugurated Cathedral of Nativity in the New Administrative Capital, EgyptImage copyright
EPA

Image caption

Pope Tawadros II told worshippers they were witness to a great opening of the cathedral

A worker cleans the interior of the new Coptic Cathedral of the Nativity at the New Administrative CapitalImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Adorned with Coptic icons, the new Coptic cathedral is some 45km (28 miles) east of Cairo

The newly built Al-Fattah Al-Aleem Mosque will be able to accommodate almost twice that of the cathedral, both of which are located in the major development that is the new administrative capital.

Labourers work outside the newly-constructed Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque at the new administrative capital, 45km east of CairoImage copyright
EPA


Laborers work inside the newly-constructed Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque at the new administrative capital, 45km east of Cairo,Image copyright
EPA


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