After more than 18 months of worshipping and holding services in the open air church courtyard despite bitter cold or scorching heat, the Diabiya church officials finally got an updated approval form the local building authorities to rebuild the life-threatening church building.
Father Rizqallah Gouda, pastor of al-Malaak Mikhail and Anba Antonius (St Michael and St Anthony) church in Diyabiya, Wasta, in Beni Sweif 100km south of Cairo, told Watani that he was finally handed an official rebuilding permit by the local building authority. He said construction work on the new building will start in a few days after demolition of the existing dilapidated one.
The Diyabiya church had been torched by Islamic fundamentalists in August 2013 in an action of collective punishment against the Copts for their strong showing in the 30 June Revolution in 2013 which led to the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood ruling regime in Egypt.
The church was already in possession of documents from the local building authority proving the church building suffered severe cracks, in addition to a presidential decree and a local building department restoration permit issued back in 2007 when the building was already displaying strong signs of dilapidation. However Wasta officials had insisted on disregarding the permits and approvals and required the church to apply for new permits. The Diyabiya church serves some 300 families.
20 January 2015