Ancient Coptic church to reopen after 13 years for Easter ceremonies

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 2 Apr 2011

Egypt PM Essam Sharaf is to officially inaugurate the Hanging Church in time for Coptic Easter ceremonies after 13 years of restorations to the building

the hanging church

Following 13 years of restorations to the  fourth century Hanging Church in Old Cairo, it will finally welcome its worshipers back in time to perform their Easter prayer ceremonies.

Within days, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is set to officially inaugurate the Hanging Church for Coptic Easter.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s well-known antiquities expert, who is expected to accept re-appointment as minister of antiquities, detailed that the LE120m budget (roughly $20m) dedicated to the Hanging Church’s restoration was mainly to reduce the water leakage into the church, strengthen the foundation of the church Babylon fortress in order to protect them from future damage. The walls were reinforced, missing and decayed stones were replaced and masonry cleaned and desalinated. The decorations and icons of the church were also subjected to fine restoration in collaboration with Russian experts and new lighting and ventilation systems have been installed.

Next on the Hanging Church to-do list, Hawass announced, is to put in place thorough, state-of-the-art security measures at the church as well as the area of Mar Girgis monastery. The bidding process will be open to organisations.

Hawass told Ahram Online that in the upcoming days Sharaf is also to inaugurate other archaeological projects, such as the inauguration of the Suez National Museum, the Crocodile Museum in the Upper Egyptian town of Kom Ombo, as well as the announcement of other important discoveries in Egypt.

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