Copt Church sends officials to J’lem amid monastery row

CAIRO (AA) – Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church on Thursday sent a delegation of high-level Coptic clergymen to Jerusalem to look into an ongoing dispute over a Coptic monastery.

According to a church statement, Coptic Pope Tawadros II sent the delegation to meet with Archbishop Antonios, Jerusalem’s Coptic Metropolitan Archbishop, “to discuss the latest developments regarding the Deir al-Sultan monastery”.

Deir al-Sultan is an ancient Coptic monastery located on the roof of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Late last month, Israeli police in Jerusalem forcibly dispersed a demonstration by Coptic clergymen held to protest the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow them to renovate the monastery.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said its newly-appointed ambassador to Israel, Khaled Azmi, had raised the issue with Israeli officials.

Muslim and Christian clergymen in Jerusalem say the Israeli authorities impose tight restrictions on the repair and/or renovation of Muslim and Christian holy sites.