Egypt issued on Sunday a decree to legalise the conditions of 111 churches and buildings on the condition that they meet the legal and civil protection requirements.
The conditions also require that churches settle with the state in case there was an illegal building on state land.
This comes after the cabinet approved in October 2018 the legalisation of 120 churches and 44 buildings, in response to requests for legal representatives of different accredited churches.
The number of unlicensed churches in Egypt is estimated at about 5,000 churches and service buildings, of which 3,000 belong to the largest Orthodox community, with thousands of churches spread over other communities.
Before the approval of church construction in 2016, the law of the Ottoman Empire governed the process of church building in Egypt, which required complex approvals to build a new church. However, the recent law solved all these obstacles, and attempts to licence churches which were built years ago, in coordination between the two sides, security and churches.
In January 2017, the cabinet decided to form a committee for a church conciliation to work according to the new law.
In the past years, Egyptian churches have come under attack on numerous occasions, including the bombing of a church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve in 2011, as well as the torching of a church in Cairo in August 2013 in the violence following the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in.