Copts prepare to mark 40 days since death of Pope Shenouda III

Military police chief Major General Hamdy Badeen visited the Coptic Orthodox Church on Sunday to meet with Bishop Paula, who is supervising preparations for a ceremony to mark 40 days since the death of Pope Shenouda III.

The celebration is scheduled to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Badeen also discussed security measures for the planned ceremony and reviewed plans with church security officials in a meeting that lasted more than half an hour.

Bishop Paula, the bishop of Tanta and a member of the committee that will oversee papal election, said there is a security plan in place for the first ceremony, which will be held from 6 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, and another plan for the ceremony to be held for church officials at Father Bishoy Church the next day between 8 am and 11 am.

Large screens will be set up at major churches across Egypt and souvenirs will be handed out to visitors of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Abbasseya.

Estimating that 10,000 people will attend the celebration, Bishop Paula said different types of visitors will carry different entrance cards, and large boards will be set up to help people find their way around. There will be special exits for emergencies.

The bishop had earlier met with military Chief of Staff Sami Anan to discuss how to organize the event. He said Anan provided all the facilities needed for organizing such a grand event.

Coptic Christians make up to 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million people and constitute the largest religious minority in the Middle East.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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