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Egypt: President El-Sisi joins Coptic Orthodox Christians at Christmas Eve mass

In this Jan. 6, 2015, file photo Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, second right, stands next to Coptic Pope Tawadros II, second left.   -  
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Nariman El-Mofty/AP


Egypt's newly reelected president attended Saturday (Jan. 06) the Christmas eve mass at the Cathedral of Nativity of Christ, east of Cairo.

It was feast day for the country's largest religious minority, the Coptic Orthodox Christians.

The celebration was overshadowed by the war raging in the Gaza Strip, on Egypt’s eastern borders.

“God willing, this year will be happy for all of us, and we will overcome, thanks to God, the major existing crises. We hope to God that they will not increase more than that and will not continue more than that (meaning the war in Gaza)," president El-Sisi said. 

"The crisis we're all live the most and by which we are all affected, I imagine, are the events in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank , and we in Egypt have a respectful position. We seek at least a ceasefire and the entry of aid in order to relieve the burden on our brothers and people in Gaza [...]"

This year's festivities also come amidst a harsh economic crisis.

Orthodox Christians are the overwhelming majority of Egypt’s Christians, who account for about 10% of the 105 million population.

The Christian minority has long complained of discrimination.

The Christmas service was led by the Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate.

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