Coptic Orthodox Church Postpones Reopening

06/29/2020 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Over the weekend, Egypt eased pandemic restrictions on houses of worship across the nation. Mosques reopened on Saturday, once again hosting daily prayers, but the government is still suspending Friday communal prayers. Despite lifted restrictions, the Coptic Orthodox Church has delayed the reopening of churches in Cairo and Alexandria due to high virus infections.

This decision was made during Saturday’s meeting of the Holy Synod, headed by Pope Tawadros II. Churches in Cairo and Alexandria will reconsider opening again in two weeks. In other governorates, each archbishop will assess their own health situations and decide how to move forward with reopening.

Christians in the Middle East have to be especially careful during this reopening process. When the lockdown measures were first initiated, language was used that implied safety measures were for Muslims only, not Christians. In some cases, Christians have even been accused of spreading the virus. Many Christian communities feel the societal tension about COVID and do not want to risk accusations of spreading the virus, since this could lead to renewed persecution.

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