Islam is the official religion of Egypt, but there is a large Coptic community and other Christian sects are represented in the country. There is also a small Jewish community. Islam is part of the Judaeo-Christian family of religions and was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in what is now Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Islam has five major principles, called pillars, which form the foundation of the religion. The first is the belief that there is only one God and that the Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of God. The second is prayer, which is performed five times a day and can be conducted in any place as long as it is done facing Mecca. Almsgiving is the third principle and by religious law Muslims must donate a percentage of their savings to the poor.
The fourth pillar is the obligation to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The fifth pillar is pilgrimage to Mecca, hajj, which all Muslims hope to perform at least once. The pilgrimage is performed during the month of Zhu’l-Higga, 70 days after the end of the Ramadan fast.
The Copts, a large minority in Egypt, are a Christian sect which separated from the Byzantine and Latin church in the 5th century over a disagreement in religious doctrine. Copts founded the world’s first monasteries, and the continuing monastic tradition is an important part of the Coptic faith.
Foreigners are free to attend any Coptic service. Non-Muslims can enter mosques listed as antiquities. Muslims may enter any mosque at any time free of charge. Listed below is a small selection of Christian services. Hours should be checked in the newspapers
Church of the Annunciation, 36 Muhammad Sabri Abu Alam, near Midan Talaat Harb. Tel: 393-8429. Armenian Rite. Holy Liturgy Sunday 8:15 a.m. (in Coptic with Arabic readings); 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Our Lady of Peace (Melkite, Greek Catholic), 4 Midan el Sheikh Yusef, 96 Qasr el Aini. Byzantine Rite in Arabic. Holy Liturgy Sunday at 8:30 a.m. , 10:30 a.m., and 6 p.m.
Holy Family Catholic Church, 55 Road 15, Maadi. Latin Rite. Daily Mass in French 8 a.m. Friday. Family Mass 10 a.m. Saturday in English. Saturday Mass 6 p.m. in German, 7 p.m. in French. Sunday Mass 9:30 a.m. in French 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. in English.
St. Joseph’s Church (Italian and Egyptian Franciscan Friars), 2 Bank Misr at corner of Muhammad Farid. Tel: 393-6677. Latin Rite. Holy Mass Sunday 7:30 a.m. in French; 8:30 a.m. in Arabic; 10 a.m. in Italian; 12:30 p.m. in French; 5:30 p.m. in English; 6:30 p.m. in French. Weekdays 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. in French.
St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 4 Ahmed Sabri, Zamalek. Tel: 340-8902, 340-9348. Latin Rite. Holy Mass Sunday 8:30 a.m. in Arabic; 11 a.m. in English; 6 p.m. in French. Weekdays 6 p.m. in French. Saturday 6 p.m. in Italian (sometimes Spanish).
Armenian Orthodox, Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator, 179 Ramses near Coptic Hospital. Armenian Rite in Armenian. Holy Liturgy Sunday 9-11 a.m.
Abu Serga Church, Old Cairo. Coptic Rite in Coptic and Arabic. Holy Liturgy Sunday 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
St. Mark’s Cathedral, 222 Ramses, Abbassiyah. Coptic Rite in Coptic and Arabic. Holy Liturgy Sunday 6-8 a.m.
Church of the Virgin Mary, 6 Muhammad Marashli, Zamalek. Tel: 340-5153. Coptic Rite in Coptic and Arabic. Holy Liturgy Sunday 7:30-9:30 a.m. and 9:30-11 a.m.
All Saints’ Cathedral, 5 Michel Lutfallah, Zamalek, behind the Marriott Hotel Episcopal/Anglican. Services in English: Sunday 8 a.m.
Christian Science Society, 3 Midan Mustafa Kamil. Service and Sunday School, Sunday 7:30 p.m. Testimony Meeting Wednesday 7:30 p.m. Reading Room with Bible references and Christian Science literature open Wednesday and Sunday 6-7:0 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Church of God, 15 Emad el Din, Apt. 45. Sunday service 10:30 a.m.
Church of Christ, 14A Road 206, Apt. 4, Digla.
Church of God Cairo Christian Fellowship, St. Andrew’s Church, corner of Gala and 26 July. Sunday services 6 p.m. in English.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). 44 Road 20, Maadi. Weekly sacrament service Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Maadi Community Church (The Church of St. John the Baptist). Corner of Port Said and Road 17, Maadi. Services in English Friday 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., with nursery; Sunday 7 p.m., no nursery.
Saint Andrew’s United Church 38, 26 July and Ramses. Service in English Sunday 9:30 a.m.
Seventh Day Adventist Church, 16 Kubba, Roxi Heliopolis. Tel: 258-0292. 258-0785.
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