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updated: 5/4/2013 4:38 PM

Egypt's Christians celebrate Coptic Easter

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  • Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of the Coptic Church of Egypt, leads the Easter Mass Saturday at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.

      Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of the Coptic Church of Egypt, leads the Easter Mass Saturday at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

CAIRO -- Thousands of Egyptian Christians are marking Coptic Easter at the same church that was the site of sectarian clashes weeks earlier.

Worshippers, as well as Muslim figures opposed to President Mohammed Morsi, gathered Saturday at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo for the evening mass, which lasts several hours.

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It is the first Easter Mass to be led by Pope Tawadros II as head of Egypt's Coptic Church. High-ranking police officials were among those seated as guests.

In April the pope criticized Morsi, an Islamist, for not protecting the church, which serves as the papal seat, when policemen fired tear gas into the cathedral's grounds during clashes between Christians inside and a Muslim crowd outside.

Egypt's Orthodox Coptic Christians make up 10 percent of the country's 90 million people.

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