Thursday 2 April, the Coptic Orthodox Church issued the following statement:
“‘And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose’ (Rom 8:28)
“‘Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer’ (Rom 12:12)”
“On the morning of Thursday 2 April 2020, the Committee of the Holy Synod’s secretariat held a meeting, chaired by Pope Tawadros II, to discuss the latest on the spread of novel coronavirus and COVID-19.
“Given that the pandemic still represents a threat to Egypt and numerous countries in the world, and given that the Church is a major part of our community and as such incessantly strives to protect every one of its members;
“And given that it believes that every human soul is precious in the eyes of God the lover of mankind;
“Also in keeping with its concern for the safety and health of all, and in view of hazard large gatherings pose to the spread of the virus;
“The Church has decided the following:
Extending the suspension of all prayers in churches, including Holy Week services which are considered among the major ecclesiastical events in the Coptic Orthodox Church, until conditions are stable and the health reasons that led to this suspension come to an end.
Postponing the ritual of preparing Holy Myron Oil, which had been planned for the upcoming week. This ritual ranks high in importance on ecclesiastical, historical, and pastoral levels. It is performed by the patriarch together with all the metropolitans and bishops of the Holy Synod.
Confirming that funeral services are to be attended only by the family of the deceased.
No holy matrimony ceremonies are to be held till general conditions are stable.
Priests are to continue with their pastoral services for families, especially those in special need, through social media.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is donating EGP 3 million to the “Tahya Masr” (Long Live Egypt) fund, with the aim of purchasing ventillators.
Directing sewing ateliers in all parishes to manufacture medical garments for the medical workers fighting COVID-19, whose work we hold in very high regard.
Churches are to go on with their awareness campaigns among congregations to commit to the cautionary measures advised by the health authorities.
Churches that have the means are to help provide sanitisers and disinfectants wherever they are needed.
The Church calls upon all Egyptians to follow cautionary and safety directions, and to stay home in order to abate the spread of the pandemic.
“We are confident our congregation understands the current conditions, and the need for the Church to take these exceptional decisions for the good of all the children of our dear homeland.
“‘Let each one look not only for his own interest but also for the interest of others’ (Phil 2:4)”
“We are confident that the blessings of these holy days are upon us and present among all of us.
“We will continue praying to and pleading with God the Pantocrator to preserve all human beings in the whole world, in all their fullness. We call upon every person to pray and plead with the Lord to lift this perilous pandemic from Egypt and the entire world. “We are reminded of the words of the Prophet Isaiah who said: ‘Come my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you’ (Isaiah 26:29).
“Let every family always gather together in these holy days to offer worship from the heart, as the Bible says: ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Josh 24:15)”
3 April 2020