Delegation of Coptic clergy arrive in Jerusalem to follow up on monastery dispute

Ahram Online , Thursday 8 Nov 2018

A delegation of clergy from Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday to follow up on the latest updates concerning a disputed ancient monastery, the church announced.

According to the official spokesperson of the Coptic Orthodox Church on Thursday, the delegation planned to meet Egypt's ambassador to Tel Aviv Khaled Azmy that evening.

Last month Israeli security forces assaulted a number of Egyptian Coptic monks and arrested at least one during a protest against the restoration of Deir Al-Sultan Monastery. The arrested monk was later released.

The monks were protesting peacefully against restoration work planned by the Israeli government at the monastery without the consent of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Ownership of the 1,000-year-old monastery has been the source of a decades-long dispute.

The monastery, where Ethiopians have lived for decades, had been owned by the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church since the 7th century, according to Metropolitan Antonious of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Far East.

Copts remained in control of the monastery until 1970 when Israeli authorities handed its control over to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church after police changed the monastery's locks and gave them the keys.

Numerous Israeli court rulings ordering that the monastery be returned to the Copts have not been enforced.


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