Egyptian churches held their mass for the first time after four months of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The Coptic Orthodox Church announced the measures in place to gradually reopen churches noting it had begun partially reopening churches to hold masses, festive prayers and funerals. It assured that full commitment to all precautions will be in place, with no more than one person to be seated in each bench.
The Church stressed it will reopen doors while imposing precautionary measures such as maintaining social distance and allowing 25 percent of each church’s capacity.
It identified 18 conditions for churches, priests and Christians alike such as asking each to bring their own handkerchief, a small bottle of water, wearing a face mask, banning handshakes and completely preventing anyone with high fever or respiratory symptoms from attending church.
On March 21, the church closed all churches and stopped all ritual services, masses, and gatherings as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The church’s decision came after a meeting by the Standing Committee of the Holy Synod, headed by Pope Tawadros II, to discuss the pandemic’s latest developments.
Egyptian Health Ministry announced that the total number of cases registered in the country reached 94,483 cases, including 42,455 recoveries and 4,865 deaths.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Ministry of Endowments confirmed that reports claiming it limited Friday sermon to 10 minutes are completely unfounded.
It indicated in a statement that the guidelines for the gradual resumption of Friday prayers would be announced after discussions with the government's coronavirus crisis management committee.