CAIRO: In a bid to resolve the ongoing crisis between the diocese of Maghagha city and the Minya governor, Pope Shenouda decided after a meeting with church leaders to respond to the governor’s request to move the prayer tent from the new to the old building.
Governor Ahmed Diaa Eddin had decided earlier to halt construction of the new diocese because of what he described as “the church’s lack of commitment” to the terms of the contract to completely demolish the old building and replace it with a services complex.
The governor’s decision was met with mounting anger by Copts who went on an open strike until the building process is resumed. The church ordered the end of the strike to give room for negotiations with the governor.
Diaa Eddin accused the diocese of violating two terms of the agreement signed last March, which state that the church had to demolish the old building before starting construction on the new one and to replace the demolished building with a services complex “serving both Muslims and Christians without any Christian identity.”
Pope Shenouda met on Tuesday with many church leaders involved in the negotiation process with the governor, including Bishop Agathon of the diocese of Maghagha city, the church’s legal counsel Ramsis El-Naggar, MP Alaa Hassanien, and Eid Labib, a leading Coptic businessman.
“The Pope asked Bishop Aghathon to transfer the tent that’s being built from the new building of the diocese to the old one and to [construct] a new building for Bishop Aghathon, demolishing the old building which is the source of the conflict,” El-Naggar told Daily News Egypt.
“The governor agreed to meet a Coptic delegation to discuss the steps taken to implement the Pope’s instructions and issue the necessary licenses to build the new building,” the lawyer added.
“The Pope’s intervention will eventually lead to solving the problem,” Bishop Aghathon of the Maghagha diocese told Daily News Egypt in a phone interview. “We are looking forward to meeting the governor to discuss the Pope’s recommendations.”