The Coptic Orthodox Church has commemorated the 224 victims of the Russian plane that crashed over Sinai in Egypt on 31 October by holding Holy Mass for their souls simultaneously in Egypt and in Moscow.
In a tradition that goes back to the ancient Egyptian custom of mummification, the Coptic Church marks the 40th day on a person’s death by holding Holy Mass in his or her honour. Anba Apollo, Bishop of South Sinai, was joined by Anba Angaelos, Bishop-General of North Shubra in Cairo, and Anba Hermina, Bishop of Ain Shams in Cairo, to preside over Holy Mass in the church of the Heavenly Host in Sharm al-Sheikh, Sinai. The ambassadors of Russia and the UK in Cairo attended the Mass, as did a number of the Russian embassy staff. Also attending were Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda, Culture Minister Helmy al-Namnam, local and national politicians, and prominent figures of the tourist industry.
At the same time, Pope Tawadros delegated Bishop of Port Said Anba Tadros, Bishop-General of Downtown Cairo churches and head of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod Anba Raphail, and Bishop-General of Ezbet al-Hagaana in Cairo Anba Ilarion to hold a commemorative Mass in Moscow for the souls of the victims. The Armenian Orthodox Church in Moscow hosted the Coptic Orthodox Mass.
Attending the commemorative Mass was a delegation of al-Misriyeen al-Ahrar (The Free Egyptians) political party, headed by business tycoon and founder of the party Naguib Sawiris. Mr Sawiris, accompanied by al-Misriyeen al-Ahrar MP Emad Gad met Egypt’s ambassador to Moscow Muhammad al-Badri and a number of Russian high ranking Foreign Affairs Ministry officials to talk about the return of Russian tourists to Egypt. Mr Sawiris said that Egypt was in need of the full support of the international community to fight terrorism, especially given that several parties of that community exploited the plane crash to level a blow to tourism in Egypt and hence to Egypt’s economy.
13 December 2015