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New church licensed after 17 years of asking

Nader Shukry

10 Jun 2013 8:07 pm

President Mohamed Mursi yesterday issued his first decree licensing a new church to be built. The 300sq.m. wide church, which will be consecrated in the name of St Peter and St Paul, will be built in the town of Nubariya in Beheira, west of the Nile Delta

President Mohamed Mursi yesterday issued his first decree licensing a new church to be built. The 300sq.m. wide church, which will be consecrated in the name of St Peter and St Paul, will be built in the town of Nubariya in Beheira, west of the Nile Delta.
A source from Beheira bishopric told Watani that President Mursi issued his decision in the wake of several instances in which Pope Tawadros II complained of the difficulty of obtaining licence to build new churches, citing the Nubariya church as a case in point. St Peter and St Paul’s has been waiting for that presidential licence for more than 17 years now. 
Nubariya, a town that was built during the last three decades, included—as specified by the law—spaces allocated for the building of places of worship. The land allotted for the building of a church was officially handed over to Beheira bishopric but, even though the bishopric filed an application to build a new church and handed in all the required papers to the presidency some 17 years ago, no licence was issued till yesterday.
Pope Tawadros had more than once voiced the Coptic demand for a unified law for building places of worship, so that churches and mosques would be treated equally before the law. As matters stand today, mosques are built freely and require no licence other than the regular building permits, whereas any construction work on churches requires long, arduous rounds of papers and permits and takes years on end. It has been customary for the authorities to sideline church applications and to procrastinate for years to issue permits. And in case a new church is to be built, it requires a presidential permit.
Watani International
7 June 2013


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