Copts were elated to see Pope Tawadros make his first public appearance since Coptic Christmas Eve on 6 January 2023.
The Pope was seen attending an official event on 23 January 2023 to celebrate Police Day, on invitation by President Sisi.
Copts and Egyptians in general had had a fright on Christmas Eve [Copts celebrate Christmas on 7 January] when, as Pope Tawadros presided over the first part of Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Egypt’s Administrative Capital some 50km east of Cairo, he showed signs of extreme tiredness. He asked for a chair to sit down as he said his sermon, since he was visibly too tired to remain standing. He looked weak, and he later let Anba Danial, Metropolitan of Maadi and Secretary-General of the Holy Synod, preside over Mass in his stead. He was handed a glass of water with sugar to pep him up.
The following day, 7 January, Pope Tawadros checked into hospital upon doctors’ advice, in order to conduct medical investigations.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi called the Pope to ask about his health; Pope Tawadros replied by reassuring him and thanking him for his concern.
In a short talk with MeSat satellite channel on 7 January, the reassured the Coptic public about his health, saying that the extreme fatigue he felt during Christmas Eve owed to tiredness following an influenza attack the previous week, in addition to a charged workload before Christmas.
The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement on the evening of 7 January to reassure the Coptic congregation that Pope Tawadros was in good health.
The statement read:
“In the aftermath of the visibly extreme exhaustion displayed by Pope Tawadros II during Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of the Nativity and the consequent concern felt by Copts about his health, the Pope checked into hospital on 7 January for medical tests.
“Results of the tests confirmed that the Pope was in very good health; his exhaustion on Christmas Eve owed to tiredness following a charged workload before Christmas. During that period, the Pope was busy with pastoral care in addition to receiving numerous officials who expressed their good wishes for Christmas.
“We reassure all Copts that His Holiness is fine and will resume his normal pastoral activities within a few days by God’s will.”
Pope Tawadros was back at the papal headquarters in St Mark’s Cathedral grounds in Abassiya, Cairo, since 8 January, getting some much needed rest. His appearance at the Police Day celebration on 23 January was the first time he was seen in public since Christmas Eve.
24 January 2023