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Coptic leader, fearful of violence in Alexandria, eschews public celebration for Epiphany

January 17, 2011

The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church will not celebrate the liturgy in public on the feast of the Epiphany, which the Copts observe on January 18.

For the first time, Coptic Pope Shenouda III not lead the Epiphany services in the Coptic cathedral. His decision to hold a private ceremony reflects the concerns of the Coptic leadership about anti-Christian violence in Egypt, in the wake of rioting that left 22 dead and nearly 100 injured at a church in Alexandria.

Pope Shenouda, the Patriarch of Alexandria, will not be in that city for the Epiphany. Having recently returned from a trip to the US for medical treatment, the 87-year-old Coptic leader is staying in Cairo.


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