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Coptic Christians in Egypt Celebrate a Peaceful Christmas

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Friday, January 10, 2014

Coptic Christians in Egypt Celebrate a Peaceful Christmas

Unlike in past years, Coptic Christians in Egypt celebrated Christmas Tuesday peacefully.

Coptic Christians are Egyptian Christians and named after the first capital of Ancient Egypt. Under Coptic beliefs, Christmas was on Tuesday.

Security was on hand during services at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral and other churches, but the liturgies were incident free.

"There were no attacks [on churches] – no incidents at all. We do feel very encouraged,” Father Rafik Greiche, media representative for the Coptic Catholic Bishops' Conference, said.

"There was an atmosphere of stability and that is why this year was different to last year. Even though there was a little bit of fear among the people, they were not outright afraid."

In January 2011, 24 people were killed by a car bomb as they left a service. In August, Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked some 50 churches.

This year, however, Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour met with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II on Coptic Christmas eve. Strict Islamists believe it is forbidden for Muslims to greet Christians to mark their feast days.

"This was something entirely new and we very much hope that the move by the President sets a precedent,” Father Greiche said.

Publication Date: January 10, 2013.