Cathedral of the Nativity in Cairo

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Cathedral of the Nativity
in Cairo
Arabic: (القاهرة) كاتدرائية ميلاد المسيح‎, romanized(al-Qāhirah) Kātidrāʾiyya Mīlād al-Masīḥ, lit. '(Cairo) Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ'
Secretary Pompeo Visits the Cathedral of the Nativity in Cairo, Egypt (32819167098) (cropped).jpg
29°58′52.3″N 31°43′15.1″E / 29.981194°N 31.720861°E / 29.981194; 31.720861Coordinates: 29°58′52.3″N 31°43′15.1″E / 29.981194°N 31.720861°E / 29.981194; 31.720861
LocationNew Administrative Capital
Country Egypt
DenominationCoptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
History
Founder(s)Pope Tawadros II
DedicationNativity of Jesus
Consecrated6 January 2019
Architecture
StyleCoptic
Specifications
Capacity9,000 people
Floor area7,500 m2
Clergy
Bishop(s)Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria

The Cathedral of the Nativity in Cairo (Arabic: (القاهرة) كاتدرائية ميلاد المسيح‎, romanized(al-Qāhirah) Kātidrāʾiyya Mīlād al-Masīḥ, lit. '(Cairo) Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ') is a Coptic Orthodox cathedral in the as-yet-unnamed New Administrative Capital, Egypt, some 45 km east of Cairo. It was commissioned by the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and inaugurated on 6 January 2019 by President el-Sisi and the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria Tawadros II. It is the largest church in the Middle East.[1]

History[edit]

In January 2017, following twin terrorist attacks that killed at least 27 Coptic Egyptians at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in Cairo in December 2016, the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi commissioned the construction of the country’s largest mosque and church in the new administrative capital to become symbols of coexistence and national unity.[2] For decades, the building of churches in Egypt was restricted to avoid offending Islam. However, in August 2017 the Parliament of Egypt removed the legal restrictions that limited the construction of new churches. The cathedral was built by the Egyptian presidency and by engineers from the Egyptian Armed Forces. [1]

It was inaugurated on 6 January 2019 by President el-Sisi and Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.[3] On the same day of the inauguration, Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the chapel of the cathedral with the participation of some 3,000 people that included representatives from all over the country.[4][5]

At the inauguration, President el-Sisi said,

"I want to say that this moment is very important in our history, because when I was at St Mark's Cathedral a year ago, I told the pope that we would be celebrating the completion of the mosque and the cathedral, and here we are standing together with the promise fulfilled. This occasion is a message that we will not allow anybody to come between us, and I do not like to use the term sectarian strife because Muslims and Christians in Egypt are one, and will stay one. This occasion represents a tree of love which we have planted together, but this tree still needs attention and care so that its fruit reaches from Egypt to the whole world. Strife will not end, but God saved Egypt and he will continue to do so for the sake of its people."[6]

The Al-Fattah Al-Aleem Mosque was also inaugurated on the same day. Imam Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb called it "the embodiment of the soul of brotherhood and love".[6]

Architecture[edit]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits the cathedral in January 2019

In Egypt, Orthodoxy is known as Oriental Orthodoxy or coptic. In general terms, we can say that the Cathedral of Nativity is the largest Orthodox church in the world by area. It is the Orthodox church with the largest dome in the world, having a diameter of 40 m.[citation needed]

The design of the cathedral is inspired by Noah's Ark in accordance with Coptic tradition.[1] It contains a main square and papal headquarters, a reception hall, a meeting room and administrative offices. It also has a two-story underground garage, service building, and two lighthouses. The lighthouses are Coptic in design and contain several bells at the top. The church covers 7,500 square metres of land and has a capacity for 9,000 people.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Inauguren una catedral copta al Caire, la més gran del Pròxim Orient" [A Coptic cathedral opens in Cairo, the largest in the Near East] (in Catalan). 8 January 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Pope Tawadros II to lead first ever mass at Egypt's new Nativity of Christ Cathedral". Nile TV.
  3. ^ "Egypt's Copts prepare for opening of cathedral in new administrative capital". The National. 4 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Egypt's new cathedral may be a big target for ISIS, Coptic Christians fear". USA TODAY.
  5. ^ "WRAP-UP: Sisi celebrates Christmas with Copts at Christ Cathedral". 7 January 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Egypt's Sisi inaugurates Nativity of the Christ Cathedral". Ahram.org.
  7. ^ "What you need to know about New Administrative Capital's church". Egypttoday.com. 20 December 2017.