Getting permission to open a church in Egypt is difficult and controversial, as highlighted by two recent cases.
Gunmen killed nine people in Helwan, just south of Cairo, on 29 December – six Christians leaving a church service, a Muslim police officer on security duty at the church building and two Copts in a nearby shop.
St George’s Cathedral, Tanta, has reopened eight months after the Palm Sunday suicide bombing that killed 28 Christians and injured 74 others.
Thousands of Christians have attended at least six huge worship festivals, following the lifting of July’s security ban on Christian activities.
On 12 October, an attacker armed with a machete killed Coptic Orthodox priest Samaan Shehata (45) on the outskirts of Cairo.
Michael from Egypt challenged delegates at Church in Chains’ Annual Conference to “Pray for the Christians of Egypt and the Middle East to shine for Jesus.”
The Coptic Orthodox church of St Mary and St Michael in the Minya village of al-Furn reopened on Sunday 10 September.
A Coptic woman was attacked and stabbed multiple times after attending a church service in Alexandria on 21 August.
On 13 August, the Bishop-General of Minya issued a statement protesting that churches closed by security order are not being permitted to reopen.
Police in the village of al-Furn in Minya governorate have barred local Copts from entering their church premises.