The Oriental Orthodox Churches in Cairo have held on 10 February 2024 their traditional joint annual Mass in which their prelates join. The Mass was this year held at the Syriac Orthodox church of the Holy Virgin Mary in Ghamra in central Cairo.
The joint liturgy was celebrated according to the Antioch Syriac ritual. Officiating was Mor-Timotheos Matta al-Khoury Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, and Patriarchal Vicar for Egypt; together with Anba Rhaphail, Coptic Bishop-General of Downtown Cairo Churches; Rev. Fr Derenik Sahakyan from the Armenian Diocese of Egypt; and Fr Gebre Selassie, from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
A large number of deacons participated in the prayers.
Archbishop Mor-Timotheus delivered a word in which he relayed a message from the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Moran Mor-Ignatius Aphrem II expressing gratitude to Anba Raphail who, he said, enthusiastically and lovingly calls for the spiritual celebration every year. The Patriarch praised that gathering of brothers, which embodied the depiction in Psalm 133:2 as “precious oil poured upon the head”.
The joint Mass was first celebrated by the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches in Cairo in 2016, following which it became an annual tradition. Before that, joint activities among the Oriental Orthodox Churches in Cairo were confined to services of hymns and praise.
The liturgical prayers and readings are recited in all the languages of the Churches participating: Arabic, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, and Ge’ez. Deacons participating in Mass are selected to represent all the Churches of Oriental Orthodox family. A large congregation usually attends.
Traditionally, celebration of the joint Mass is preceded by an event of hymns and praises presented by all the Oriental Orthodox Churches in Cairo. The highly popular event is sponsored by Anba Raphail, and is held at St Mark’s Cathedral in Azbakiah, Cairo. This time round, that event was held on 14 December 2023.
St Mark’s Cathedral in Azbakiah had been the papal seat of Coptic Popes during the period from 1800 to 1971 when the papal seat was moved to the then newly built St Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasiya, Cairo.
12 February 2024