Al-Sisi to attend Christmas mass at new cathedral

The Coptic Orthodox Church has announced that Egypt's new Nativity of the Christ Cathedral, the largest in the Middle East, will officially open January 6th, Egypt’s Ahram Online reported Thursday (January 3rd).

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II will attend Coptic Christmas mass at the new cathedral to mark the occasion.

In a video posted online, the church said the public can attend the mass after registering with the church.

The video shows parts of al-Sisi's speech during the 2018 Christmas Mass at the Cathedral of St Mark in Abbasiya district, where he promised the next Christmas mass would be held at the new cathedral, upon its completion in 2019.

The Nativity of the Christ Cathedral, built in Egypt's new administrative capital, occupies 30% of the 4.14 acre site allocated to the complex.

The cathedral can accommodate 8,200 worshippers, and the complex has been designed around a large central square and includes a papal residence, reception hall, meeting rooms and offices.

Al-Sisi commissioned the building of the cathedral in January 2017, following a December 2016 terror attack that killed at least 29 Coptic Egyptians at St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo.

During Christmas mass in 2018, he described the building of the new church as "a message of peace and love to the world".

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