“The righteous in the Heaven have no desires as they used to do on the Earth...they only desire the knowledge of the presence of God and the angles, and the experience of praising and praying. The enjoyments of the Heaven are much better than those of the world,” the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria Pope Shenouda III has said in his speech during the Easter Mass.
Amid more than 10.000 Copts and numerous statesmen and officials, the pope delivered rites of the mass at the Coptic Orthodox St. Mark's Cathedral in the Cairo al-‘Abbāsīyah district. The big church appeared to be splendid with walls and columns being adorned with white-red cross as well as decorations bearing: “Happy Easter.”
Features of the Copts' celebrations were highlighted as the pope ended the ritual of tamthīlīyat al-qiyāmah [the simulation of the resurrection of Christ] where the religious leader announced that Jesus arose from the dead. After the ritual the pope gave his speech on the features of Heaven and doomsday.
Al-Misrī al-Yawm noted that some key statesmen, such as, the head of the Committee of Politics in the ruling National Democratic Party [NDP] Mr. Jamāl Mubārak, the head of the presidential office Dr. Zakarīyā ‘Azmī and the minister of finance Dr. Yūsuf Butrus Ghālī, did not attend the celebrations, whilst they had attended similar occasions in previous years. However, ambassadors of the U.S., U.K. and Germany were amongst the attendance.
At the Evangelical church of Heliopolis, the head of the Protestant Community Rev. Safwat al-Bayyādī headed the religious celebrations of the Protestants. The resurrection of Christ symbolizes liberation from all the evil powers and the defeat of obstacles, he said in his speech. “The resurrection comes to set man free from the boundaries of sin, the aim on which Protestantism was founded,” the Evangelical pastor added.
In the Coptic Catholic St. Mary's Church in Nasr City, the Catholic Patriarch Antonius Najīb spoke about hope and love by which the world in need for so that peace can prevail. The hope in the Lord can change toughest conditions, the patriarch said, “The resurrection of Jesus defeats the greatest power of evil, which is death.”
Cities across Egypt witnessed features of the Copts' celebrations as people took to streets and public gardens. Also, local authorities shared celebrations through visits of officials to churches for congratulations, al-Misrī al-Yawm wrote.
“Man does not live on bread alone,” Pope Shenouda jokingly commented on the current crisis of the shortage of bread while receiving official delegations at his residence for congratulating the Copt. [Reviewer: the pope referred to a Biblical verse in Matthew 4: 4, NIV]
“As the president of all Egyptians, I tell you that we will never allow for the attempt of schemes between the two wings of the nation [Muslims and Christians], and will punish those who commit it by the power of the law...Egypt remains peaceful home for all its sons,” the President of Egypt Husnī Mubārak has said in his congratulating message to the Copt of Egypt, at home and abroad.