On Thursday 6 July, Alexandria Governor Muhammad Sultan issued an immediate decision to resume construction works at the Church of the Holy Virgin annexed to Alexandria’s Coptic Hospital, and gave instructions to Ali Morsi, head of the central district, that he is not to prevent or stop the expansion work underway. The works involve the erection of a separate doorway and stairs for the church so that it can be accessed from outside the hospital, also the construction of two new chambers. Lawyer Sameh Zaghloul, legal representative of the church, said that the Governor issued his decision during a meeting in which the Head of Legal Affairs at the governorate participated, along with the Head of the State-owned Medical Foundation to which the Coptic Hospital is affiliated; the Head of the Coptic Hospital; representatives of the church; and Seifein Fikry, the construction engineer responsible for the work at the hospital.
Ali Morsi, Head of Alexandria’s Central District, had on 29 June visited the construction site at the church, and ordered an immediate halt to the expansion work then taking place. The expansion work is fully licensed according to permit number 191 for year 2002, and has been approved by several officials including Dr Sultan. Mr Zahgloul said that when the church officials showed Mr Morsi the licence and the governor’s approval he said: “I have nothing to do with the governor’s approval”.
Zaghloul praised the efforts of Alexandria MPs Suzie Nashed and Haitham Abul-Ezz al-Hariri for supporting the Church in this predicament, and for their advice and efforts to raise the matter to Alexandria Governor.
The Coptic Hospital was established in Alexandria in 1953, and the church annexed to it has been used for worship ever since 1964. That same year the hospital was nationalised and its ownership moved to the Medical Foundation.
7 July 2017