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Church repairs will cost EGP 190m: Pope

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Coptic Orthodox Church anticipates a return to stability for the country

The Amir Tadros coptic Church in Minya, Egypt, which was set ablaze on August 14, 2013, in a photo taken on August 18  (AFP/File, Virginie Nguyen Hoang)

The Amir Tadros coptic Church in Minya, Egypt, which was set ablaze on August 14, 2013, in a photo taken on August 18
(AFP/File, Virginie Nguyen Hoang)

After a preliminary survey of damage inflicted in sectarian violence, an estimated cost of EGP 190m will be required for restoration, said head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II.

The committee consisted of members of the Church and the military’s Engineering Authority.

The estimate was presented to the Engineering Authority, according to the pontiff during a telephone interview on the Christian Al-Karma satellite channel. Pope Tawadros added that the authority was working with the Church to implement a plan to reconstruct and restore various Church facilities, agreeing to begin with damaged schools.

The pope also said that the Coptic Church had already been involved in compensating those who had been victim to sectarian violence in their homes and business, as well as those with businesses that were attacked and looted in August.

The most recent sectarian attack occurred in the Giza neighbourhood of Al-Warraq when two masked gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a wedding procession in front of the Virgin Mary Church, killing five.

Police arrested two suspects with alleged connections to the shooting at the church, according to state-owned Al-Ahram. One of the suspects was a member of a Jihadi group and the other was part of a Salafi group, and one of them had been arrested in 2009, the news agency added.

Tawadros acknowledged that Christians had suffered from instability especially after the bomb explosion of Al-Qidiseen Church in Alexandria on New Years 2011 and the ensuing instability when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces governed and carried over into the Mohamed Morsi presidency, adding that he was confident that stability was returning to the streets.

The armed forces had previously confirmed that it would rebuild churches that were attacked following the clearing of sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda Square, calling it a “national and historic obligation.”

Churches and Christian communities across Egypt saw high levels of attacks following the dispersals of the protests supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Military engineers as early as mid-September began visiting damaged churches ahead of reconstruction efforts.

The most recent sectarian attack occurred in the Giza neighbourhood of Al-Warraq when two masked gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a wedding procession in front of the Virgin Mary Church, killing five.


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