With daily numbers of COVID-19 cases on the rise in Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church has today, Tuesday 27 October, issued a statement which it posted on its Spokesperson Facebook page announcing resumption of restrictions against coronavirus spread.
The statement came under the title: “Notification regarding Church services during the upcoming period”, and opened with the Bible verse:
“How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord” (Psalms 84: 1,2).
It went on to declare:
“In view of the [general] health situation and the spread of coronavirus, and in a move to protect our children from infection, it has been decided to implement the following as of 1 November 2020:
Masses shall continue to be celebrated in Coptic churches all over Egypt at maximum attendance of 25 per cent of a church’s capacity (a single person on each bench), while applying all necessary cautionary measures. The number of attendants may be further decreased subject to the health conditions in each parish. This reduced attendance should also apply to weddings and funeral services, also to all forms of Church educational services in such as institutes and learning centres.
Sunday School services and regular meetings may be held at 25 per cent of the capacity of the place in both Cairo and Alexandria, the parishes under the jurisdiction of Pope Tawadros II. In case of other parishes, it is up to their respective metropolitans or bishops to decide on the necessary restrictions, be it partial or full closure, according to the general health situation.
All trips and spiritual retreats are to be suspended.
[Members of the congregation are not to be visited at home] care may be administered only through telephone calls.
Services held in honour of the deceased, whether Third-Day prayers or condolences, also prayers for newborn babies are to be discontinued till general health conditions improve.
“We pray to the Lord to keep churches open to the faithful.
“May God protect Egypt and her people; and all peoples of the world, from all harm.”
27 October 2020