In his weekly sermon on Wednesday, Patriarch Tawandros II stressed the importance of taking precautionary measures against the COVID-19, especially during the coming Holy Week.
“Please be careful,” the Coptic Patriarch urged the faithful, “because the current wave of pandemics is strong and severe and there is a growing number of infections. You have to comply with the limit of 25% of the faithful in the churches,” he said.
The Coptic Patriarch, who is also a graduate of the School of Pharmacy of the University of Alexandria, strongly recommended the use of face mask, the continued hand hygiene, social distancing, the ventilation of the churches and a healthy diet for the faithful.
“Please take the matter seriously,” Patriarh Tawandros II told the faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church while praying for the protection of citizens and the country from the pandemic.
The churches of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt are expected to operate under strict measures during Holy Week, which always coincides with the Holy Week of the Greek Orthodox Church.
In fact, 18 ecclesiastical provinces in 13 regions in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt will hold Easter services without the presence of believers due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. These are Coptic churches in the cities of Luxor, Giza, Beni Suef, Gharbeya, Fayoum, Aswan, Sohag, Qena, Asyut, Kalubeya, Port Said, Ismailia and Suez.
In all the other churches, Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II urged the observance of the upper limit of 25% of the faithful in the churches to deal with the increase of COVID-19 cases.
Earlier this month, several monasteries in Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said they would ban pilgrims and faithful from visiting them next Holy Week until Easter due to the increase in COVID-19 infections.
This decision came after the Egyptian authorities had announced in the first week of April that there had been a significant increase in infections in the last six weeks, with the regions of Upper Egypt having the highest infections in the last period.