The administration of Sohag governorate has approved the application filed by Anba Ashaia, Bishop of Tahta and Juhaina, to build a Coptic Orthodox Church in the hamlet of Naja Rizq Shenouda, in Tahta, Sohag, some 450km south of Cairo. The new church will be built in place of an existing de-facto one, but will be expanded according to the architectural drawing presented in the application.
The Copts of Naja Rizq Shenouda have suffered since 1971 on account of the refusal of the local authorities to grant them a permit to build a church on a 618sq.m-plot of land owned by the Church and officially registered as Church property. There is no church in the hamlet which is home to some 3500 Copts; the Copts worship in a rundown building—if it can be termed ‘building’—that has no ceiling and thus no privacy and is moreover unshielded against weather conditions. The Church repeatedly applied for licence to build a new church but was never granted one; no reason was ever given by the authorities.
Once the 2016 Law for Building and Restoration of Churches went into effect, Tahta Bishopric submitted an application to Sohag Governor, Ayman Abdel-Moniem, for licence to build a new church in Naja Rizq. Now the application has been finally approved.
3 December 2017