Egyptian Pope to attend Prez`s speech

The Pope ended his solitary after a mediation efforts by Mustafa al-Fiki.

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2010, 17:34 PM IST

Cairo: Egyptian Pope Shenouda, who had gone on a retreat from public life following incidences of clashes involving Christians in the nation,ended his `solitary period of contemplation` after an influential parliamentarian persuaded him to do so.

The Pope decided to end his solitary period after a mediation efforts by head of the External Affairs Committee at the Egyptian parliament Mustafa al-Fiki, who visited him with a delegation of prominent Coptic figures.

During the visit, al-Fiki had a prolonged discussion with the Pope about the status of Copts in the country. The Pope welcomed the prosecutor-general`s decision to release 70 detainees from the Coptic church protests in al-Omraneyya.

Egyptian Christians, known throughout history as Copts, are the largest Christian minority in north Africa constituting more than 10 per cent of the country`s population.

The Pope had decided to start a solitary period of contemplation in objection to the crises Egyptian Copts are witnessing.

Last month a Coptic student was killed in clashes between police and thousands of Copts after the municipality of Giza ordered a church to be torn down as it was erected with no license.
The law ruling the construction of new churches dates back to the mid 19th century and allows only the president of Egypt to grant new licenses.

The Copts claimed they were forced to build church without a license since it is difficult to obtain a license for a new church and new churches are needed to accommodate the increasing number of worshippers.
The Pope will attend the president`s speech in the parliament on Sunday, according to reports.

PTI