Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria announced that churches in Cairo and Alexandria will be reopened for prayers on August 3, according to a Facebook statement on Saturday from the Coptic Orthodox Church’s official spokesperson.
In June 27, the Standing Committee of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, headed by Pope Tawadros II, had extended the suspension of prayers at all dioceses under the See of St Mark on Sunday and Friday at Cairo and Alexandria up until mid-July.
The suspension decision emerged upon following up the spread of the coronavirus.
With churches at Cairo and Alexandria having seen a rise in infection rates, the committee explained at the time that the best course of action was to postpone the reopening of churches there until mid-July, where the situation will then be reassessed.
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.
A committee statement said that the decision came “given that gatherings represent the greatest danger leading to the rapid spread of the virus, out of the national and ecclesiastical responsibility of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and to preserve all the people of Egypt.”
The church also shut down funeral halls and limited any funeral attendance to the families of the deceased only, provided that each parish allocates one church for funerals and prohibits visits to all monasteries.