wataninet.com - The church of the Holy Virgin and Mar-Girgis (St George) in the village of Sheikh Alaa’ in Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, was founded in 2015, and is the only church in the village. It was established without licence, owing to the near impossibility of obtaining licence despite the dire need for a church in the village. The church is housed in a 170 sq.m two-storey building which Minya bishopric purchased in 2014. The first floor incudes a reception hall and offices; the second includes the church.

Once the building was purchased, the bishopric renovated it and started preparing the upper floor to serve as a church. It was almost ready to receive worshippers in 2015, when extremist Muslim villagers waged an attack against it, destroying a large portion of the interior and furnishings. The police hastened to close the building under the pretext of avoiding violence against the Copts, but caught no culprit.

The building remained closed till last month when the priest Fr Moussa Thabet, encouraged by the 2016 law for building churches, decided to reopen it. He held Mass there; it was attended by hundreds of villagers who were happy to finally be able to worship in a place in their village. But the same extremists who had attacked the church two years ago attacked it again. Again, the police decided to close the building and, again, no culprit was caught.

This time, however, the Copts refused to leave the church and, in a gesture of protest, some 70 of them conducted a sit-in inside the church. Since the police refused to allow anything to be handed to the protestors, the neighbours started throwing to them food and drink on the church rooftop from neighbouring rooftops.

An arrangement was reached with the police whereby the women and children were made to leave the church and go home, then most of the men left too; now only Fr Moussa remains in the building with three deacons. The police allow foodstuffs in, but no one is allowed to go in to them, nor are they allowed to leave. Fr Moussa prays daily Mass with the deacons.

A church said that, according to the law for building churches, the bishopric has filed an official application to legalise the status of the church, but no decision has so far been taken on that score.

Watani International
25 October 2017

Link and Photos: http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/sectarian/minya-priest-conducts-sit-in-in-his-closed-church/21772/


Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear" and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our voice. 

St. Benedict