On this day, of the year 1684 A.M., that coincided with Tuesday the 25th of June, 1968 A.D., and in the tenth year of the papacy of Pope Kyrillos the Sixth, 116th Pope of Alexandria, the holy church celebrates the inauguration of the new St. Mark Cathedral in Dair El-Anba Rowais, which was known also as Dair El-Khandaq.
For this occasion and for the return of the relics of St. Mark the Apostle from Rome, after being in the city of Venice in Italy for eleven centuries, i.e. since the ninth century, a great religious celebration was organized. The celebration was headed by H.H. Pope Kyrillos the Sixth and was attended by President Gamal Abdel Naser, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Emperor Haile Selassie the First, Emperor of Ethiopia, and many of the heads of different religions and representatives of churches from all around the world. Among those religious leaders was Mari Ignatius Yacoub the Third, the Antiochian Patriarch for the Syrian Orthodox.
Many momentous speeches, were delivered in different languages for this occasion. The speakers were, Pope Kyrillos the Sixth, the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox, Cardinal Doval, the head of the Roman Papal delegation, the Catholicos Patriarch of Ethiopia, the secretary general of the World Council of Churches, and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. They all expressed their joy on this happy and blessed day, saluting the church of Alexandria, which had a glorious history, with salutation of appreciation and respect.
At the end of the speeches the Pope along with the President of Egypt and the Emperor of Ethiopia went to the entrance of the new Cathedral. They unveiled the curtains from the commemorative plaque that was prepared to perpetuate this historical day. This celebration was attended by the journalists, the international news agencies' reporters, radio, television and more than six thousand Egyptians and foreigners.
May the blessings of St. Mark be with us all. Amen.
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