Egypt's Damietta bishop bans women from wearing trousers, make-up in church

Sherry El-Gergawi, Thursday 31 Jul 2014

Coptic Orthodox bishop bans his female congregants from wearing trousers, blouses and make-up to receive communion

Bishop Bishoy of Damietta and Kafr El Sheikh (Photo: Ahram)

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Bishoy of Damietta and Kafr El-Sheikh has banned Christian women in his diocese from wearing trousers, blouses and make-up in church to receive communion.

Signs have been put up at churches in the diocese stating: "In response to the decision of Bishop Bishoy of Damietta and Kafr El-Sheikh, all ladies and girls above the age of eleven should refrain from wearing trousers, blouses or make-up during the sacrament of holy communion in the divine liturgy, and they should wear modest dress."

Father Boulos Halim, spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that "each bishop has the right to take the decisions he see as suitable for the people in his diocese, as long as it is not against the Orthodox faith."

"Ladies should follow this decision inside the church only and not in their everyday life," added Halim.

This is not the first time that the bishop has triggered the anger of some Christian women.

In May 2012, he said: “I call on Christian girls to learn from veiled Muslim women with their modesty. Some Christian women might be displeased with me, but the Virgin Mary, Saint Demiana and the nuns wore modest clothes.”

A group of Christians protested at St Mark's Cathedral in central Cairo in response to the bishop's statements at the time, asking him to apologise.

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