To celebrate Coptic Christmas on 7 January 2023, Christmas Mass was held at the first church built inside an Egyptian prison. That is Egypt’s new prison complex in Wadi al-Natroun in the Western Desert, some 100km northwest Cairo.
This is the first time ever in Egypt that a prison includes a church; it was built in 2021 and opened in 2022.
The Church has always been allowed to grant pastoral care to Christian prisoners, and to celebrate Mass with them in prison, but this was always done in some room or hall designated by the prison authorities. The recently built church is a first in Egyptian prisons.
Anba Domadius, Bishop of the city of 6th October, and the Church official in charge of prison services, presided over the recently-held Mass. Christian prisoners, men and women, attended and partook of Holy Communion. They all observed the cautionary measures stipulated by Egypt’s Interior Ministry against coronavirus.