Egypt's Orthodox Christians mark second low-key Easter
Coptic Pope Tawadros II led a service attended by a small crowd on Saturday night on the eve of Orthodox Easter at a main cathedral in Cairo.
He said that in compliance with precautions against COVID-19, only 10 percent of the usual attendance in the cathedral was allowed.
"We are praying for an end to this pandemic that has horrifyingly swept through the world," the Coptic pontiff said in an Easter homily. "We are praying for our dear health workers, being the first defence line in confronting this pandemic," he added.
Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter later than their mostly Western counterparts as the Orthodox festival is determined according to the Julian calendar, which dates back to the Roman Empire and differs from the Gregorian calendar, adopted in the 16th century.
Egypt's Christians make up around 10 percent of the country's mostly Muslim population of over 100 million.
Followers of the Coptic Orthodox Church constitute the majority of Egypt's Christians.
The Orthodox Easter is annually followed in Egypt by a springtime festival called Sham al-Nessim, popular among the country's Christians and Muslims.
Egyptians traditionally go to seaside beaches or public parks on this festival dating back to ancient Egyptian times. However, the government said parks and beaches would be closed for the second year in a row on Monday to reduce crowding to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. (dpa)