Minya celebrates Evangelical Church's renovation after assailed by Morsi supporters



Sun, 01 Oct 2017 - 03:55 GMT


Sun, 01 Oct 2017 - 03:55 GMT

Recent rennovations of Evangelical Church of Beni Mazzar (file photo)

Recent rennovations of Evangelical Church of Beni Mazzar (file photo)

CAIRO – 1 October 2017: The Evangelical Church of Beni Mazzar has been inaugurated on Saturday after being fully renovated. The inauguration ceremony was witnessed by Security Directorate Chief General Mamdouh Abdel Monsef, Minya University Head Gamal Eddin Aboul Magd, and other officials and statesmen.

Andrea Zaki, the president of the Protestant community in Egypt, and a representative of the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces participated in the ceremony.

The Armed Forces recently established, restored and upgraded 69 churches and Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical facilities.

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Recent rennovations of Evangelical Church of Beni Mazzar (file photo)

The Evangelical Church is the last Christian establishment to be restored among 69 sabotaged and burned churches in Minya. The restoration works were carried out by the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces and mandated by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

“The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) headquarters is the first building that had been renovated several months ago,” Bedewy said during “The Great Family” ceremony, which brought together the Muslim Youth Association and the YMCA. The ceremony was attended by Major-General Mamdouh Abdel Monsef, the head of Minya Security; Jamal Abul-Magd, the president of Minya University; along with a large number of the governorate’s executive and parliamentary leaders.

St. Marks Coptic Cathedral

Egypt finished repairing the church adjacent to St. Marks Coptic Cathedral, which was the site of an explosion in December 2016, the Armed Forces said in a statement.

The blast, which coincided with the Muslim celebration of the Prophet’s Birthday on December 11, killed 27 and injured dozens of worshipers, many of whom were women and children attending the Sunday mass at the time.

St. Marks Coptic Cathedral is considered one of Egypt's most symbolic religious sites for Copts. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State.

Other Churches restoration

In the governorate of Fayoum, some 100 kilometers southwest Cairo, the Armed Forces are working to restore and renovate five churches, four Coptic Orthodox ones and an Evangelical church.

In 2012, the Armed Forces promised to repair and restore ruined churches and buildings, but have so far been able to do so in only a handful of cases. On Christmas Eve 2016, President Sisi promised that the Armed Forces would carry out all the repairs and restorations in 2016. “It’s not a favour,” he said. “We owe this to you.”

The churches undergoing renovation were attacked in August 2013 on the day pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo were dispersed, with the ensuing hours seeing sectarian attacks against Christians in Upper Egypt, where the Coptic population is relatively large.

Sisi, who was defense minister at the time, immediately announced that the Armed Forces would pay the costs of renovating and rebuilding all churches damaged in the attacks that lasted over 12 hours.

In October 2013, the Egyptian Family House called for an initiative to renovate the damaged houses of worship and opened a bank account to receive donations.

The Family House is an authority launched by Egypt's Al-Azhar – the country's highest Muslim Sunni authority –immediately after the deadly 2011 bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, one of the most infamous attacks on churches in the country's modern history.

The Family House's mission is to unite Muslim and Christian Egyptians to ease sectarian strife.

Although Christians only make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million, many Islamists blamed Copts for the massive, nationwide protests that preceded Morsi’s ouster on July 3, 2013.

The attacks following the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins targeted churches and Christian religious institutions, as well as Coptic-owned properties including six Christian schools, 60 houses, 85 shops, three hotels and 80 vehicles. A number of Christians were also killed in the attacks.

On August 14, 2013, Security Forces set out to disperse Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Nasr City’s Rabaa Al Adawiya, and in Nahda Square, Giza.

Recent rennovations of Evangelical Church of Beni Mazzar (file photo)

According to a report issued by Coptic rights group, Maspero Youth Union (MYU), supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails, destroyed and set fire to around 65 Churches. Some of these churches, according to the report, dated as far back as the fourth century.

Bishop Pimen of Upper Egypt’s Naqada and Qus villages, who is also the head of the crisis committee of the Coptic Orthodox Church, said the engineering unit of the Armed Forces has set a three-stage plan to renovate and rebuild the churches, monasteries and other institutions.

"The first and second stages of renovations are finished. The first stage included 20 churches with renovations costing EGP 70 million ($8.9 million), while the second stage included 21 churches costing EGP 9.5 million ($1.2 million)," he said. "Now we are working on the third stage, which includes 24 churches at a cost range of EGP 118-125 million ($15-16 million)."



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