Starting 7 December, Masses and activities in the Coptic Orthodox parishes of Cairo and Alexandria have been suspended for one month. The decision was taken by Pope Tawadros, under whose jurisdiction the two parishes fall, in face of the steady rise in numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Egypt.
A Church statement said that in case of other parishes, diocesan bishops should take appropriate measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, depending on local health conditions.
Already, most diocesan bishops have issued decisions to curtail services to varying degrees.
The Church statement said that Mass may be held in any given church only once a week without a congregation, and with participation of only five deacons.
Kiahk evenings, the normally widely-attended evenings of praises for the Holy Virgin during the Coptic month of Kiahk which precedes Christmas, would be suspended, the statement said, and Copts May follow them on Coptic satellite TV.
Condolence halls are to close, and funeral services to made by one priest and one deacon, preferably at the cemetery churches, with attendance restricted to the family of the deceased.
Baptismal rituals may be be performed with the attendance of no more than four members of the family of the baby to be baptised.
Clerical institutes and educational centres should operate at 25 per cent attendance.
“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).
8 December 2020