As of Sunday 31 January 2021, Masses will resume in the Coptic Orthodox parishes of Cairo and Alexandria, following their suspension since 26 December 2020 as a cautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 . The decision to partially reopen churches to resume Masses was taken by Pope Tawadros, under whose jurisdiction the two parishes fall, in face of the recent decrease in numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Egypt.
A Church statement said that Masses or praises may be held in any given church any day in the week at 25 per cent of the capacity of each church, that is with only one person on each pew.
In-person social services, Sunday School, and spiritual meetings are still suspended, however. As an alternative to Sunday School, special Masses may be assigned to special sectors of the congregation, with a short sermon that would take no more than 15 minutes included to address each sector. This may be applied to children who would have attended Sunday School, according to their various age groups. The rule of attendance not exceeding one child per pew should be observed, together with all other cautionary measures.
Any church that does not adhere to the cautionary measures, or any church where COVID-19 infection/s occur, will be closed for 15 days.
As to wedding and funeral services, attendance is restricted to family members, with one person on each pew. Condolence halls will remain closed, and other related services held in homes are still suspended.
Instead of paying visits to members of the congregation to provide spiritual care, priests may provide that care through telephone calls.
Studying in clerical institutes and educational centres may resume online.
In case of other parishes, the statement said, diocesan bishops should take appropriate measures regarding Masses and services, while strictly applying all measures needed to stem the spread of COVID-19, depending on local health conditions.
“We pray incessantly that God would protect Egypt and the whole world from all harm, and ask the Lord to save mankind from disease and pandemic,” the statement concluded. “We trust in His faithful promise:
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen, (Mattew 28:20).
Tuesday 26 January 2021 (18 Touba 1737)
Already, various dioceses have begun slightly easing restrictions on spiritual and other services, and monasteries that were closed to the public on account of COVID-19 restrictions are reopening.
26 January 2021