CAIRO: The Coptic Orthodox Church declared on Wednesday that Pope Shenouda decided to move his Holy See celebration back to the Saint Mark Cathedral in Abbaseya after his decision earlier this week to move it to Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Natrun.
A source in the papal office told Daily News Egypt that many Bishops and priests asked the Pope to move back the celebration scheduled for Saturday night to the Cathedral’s headquarters due to the location of the monastery; about 100 km away from Cairo in Beheira governorate.
Many Copts would not have been able to attend the celebration due to the long commute; given that most used to come from different governorates to attend every year.
The source added that Bishops feared that the Pope’s decision would be misinterpreted as a reaction to Al-Qaeda’s threats against the church.
The source, who requested anonymity, confirmed that a group of high profile Copts living abroad will attend the ceremony alongside other Egyptian public figures.
The invitation will be open to all Egyptians but security measures will be taken to check the identity of the attendees.
The pope’s initial decision to move the 39th Holy See anniversary celebration for the first time away from Cairo came after Al-Qaeda, claiming responsibility for a bloody hostage taking in a Baghdad church, threatened to target the region’s Christians if the Coptic Church did not release two women rumored to have been kidnapped after they converted to Islam.
The church’s lawyer Ramses El-Naggar told Daily News Egypt said that ceremony cannot take place in Saint Bishoy monastery due to the remote location.
"It is natural to celebrate the Holy See in the Cathedral; this is where the ceremony takes place every year," said El-Naggar.
"This will be a message that the church does not pay any attention to Al-Qaeda’s threats, and everything is going as planned."