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Coptic pope issues encyclical; Egyptian leader attends Christmas liturgy

January 08, 2016

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, has devoted his 2016 Christmas encyclical letter to “one of the main objectives of the Birth of Christ, that is, giving joy to mankind.”

The church—one of the Oriental Orthodox churches that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451—celebrated Christmas on January 7.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ came to give joy to every heart,” wrote Pope Tawadros. “The first element of joy in the Nativity is the Virgin St. Mary. She gladdened us with her righteousness and purity. No person can gladden others unless he or she is righteous and pure.”

For the second year in a row, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attended the Coptic patriarch’s Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. “The greetings [el-Sisi] received from the hundreds of faithful present were jubilant,” the Fides news agency reported.


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