Egypt has opened West Asia’s largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral of Nativity and also a mosque yesterday on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
Egypt’s Sisi opens mega-mosque and Middle East’s largest cathedral in New Capital.
Sisi called it a historic and important moment for Egypt. The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the world’s primary seat of learning for Sunni Muslims, said that the two places of worship stand as a symbol in the face of attempts to undermine the country’s stability and sectarian seditions.
The ceremony was attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a host of Arab dignitaries. It included recorded video messages of support from the region’s top Christian clerics as well as Pope Francis.
The Pope said the new cathedral is a gift of peace and prosperity to Egypt, the Middle East and the whole world. Unlike December 25, Coptic Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on January 7, following the Coptic calendar.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated Egypt’s largest church and mosque in the New Administrative Capital on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas, in a symbolic message of tolerance in the predominantly Muslim nation.
Copts, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, were due hold a midnight mass in the Cathedral of the Nativity, billed by the government as the Middle East’s largest church, a few hours after the inauguration.
Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s nearly 100 million people and have long complained of discrimination under laws that favour Muslims.