Minya–Anba Agathon, bishop of Maghagha, has delayed until Saturday a protest scheduled to take place today in front of Abbaseyya Cathedral, Cairo. The protest will go ahead if no final solution is reached concerning the construction of a new cathedral and demolition of the old church building.
Ghandi Kastor Ghebrial, assistant secretary for the National Democratic Party in Minya, intervened yesterday to end the conflict between Minya’s governor and the Maghagha Coptic church.
Ghebrial said he has been authorized by the governor to settle the conflict but no specific points have been agreed upon for discussion with Agathon. He mentioned a four-hour meeting with Agathon the day before yesterday during which they discussed keeping the old fence and postponing the demolition of the old building for two to four months until construction is licensed.
“The governor has authorized Ghebrial to end the conflict,” said Agathon, referring to Ghebrial’s promised solutions, like postponing the demolition of the new administrative building for six months until a new one is constructed, and retaining the fence belonging to the old building for security.
Bahaa Fakri Ali, NDP secretary in Minya, blamed the crisis on Agathon who, he said, breached an agreement which struck last March in the presence of many church and governorate officials.
The agreement specifies that the new cathedral will include an area for medical and other services, to cover the site of the old church, and that the purpose of this center must not be changed or given a religious nature. Ali called on Agathon to stick to the terms of agreement.
On the other hand, Ahmed Diaa Eddin, Minya’s governor, told Al-Masry Al-youm, “I authorized nobody to negotiate with Agathon, although I don’t reject the intervention of popular or political leaders in implementing the terms of agreement.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition.