Pope Francis sent a video message to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, on the occasion of the dedication of the new Cathedral of the Nativity erected in the new administrative capital near Cairo, attended by the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
The Egyptian media stressed the fact that, in the ceremonies carried out for the inauguration of the Great Mosque, the first to intervene was the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Tawadros II, reported Fides News Agency. In the evening of January 6, 2019, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi also spoke at the Coptic Christmas vigil, celebrated in the new cathedral. Al Sisi, in his speech, reported that the government has planned the construction of 14 new urban centers where both churches and mosques will be built together, and confessed that he will never forget the words “better to have a Homeland without churches than to have churches without a Homeland”, said Pope Tawadros in 2013, after churches and Christian schools in Egypt had been devastated by the attacks of Islamist groups. “This is a historic and important moment,” said al Sisi inside the cathedral, “but we still have to protect the tree of love we planted here together today because seditions never end.”
Video Message of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you a good Christmas and a happy new year!
With joy I greet you all on the happy occasion of the dedication of the new Cathedral of the Nativity, built in the new administrative capital.
May the Prince of Peace gives Egypt, the Middle East, and the whole world the gift of peace and prosperity.
I address a special greeting to my dear brother His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and to the dear Coptic Orthodox Church, which has been able to give a true testimony of faith and love even in the most difficult moments.
Dear brothers and sisters, you have martyrs who give strength to your faith. Thank you for your example.
I address a respectful greeting to the Egyptian government and to Mr. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
In the new Cathedral may the worship of God on high always be welcome, and may there descend His blessing and peace on earth for all men, whom God loves.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican