Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Jan. 7, and Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt marked the holiday by defiantly holding mass at Christ's Nativity Cathedral outside Cairo and other churches throughout the predominantly Muslim country despite threats from the Islamic State.
Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a Muslim, joined worshipers for a Christmas Eve service on Saturday, as soldiers and heavily armed police patrolled nearby. As Fox News reported, Christian places of worship in Egypt are now equipped with metal detectors and congregants must undergo full body searches before entering. In some cases, streets and surrounding areas were closed off to further ensure protection.
"We, with the grace of God, are offering a message of peace and love from here, not just to Egyptians or to the region, but to the entire world," el-Sissi told worshipers while standing next to Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic pontiff.
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