Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - St. Catherine's Monastery, located in the region of Sinai, has denied reports of alleged assaults carried out by Islamist groups, put into circulation in recent days by Christian media and blogs. The denial was carried out by an official statement of the Monastery, sent to Fides Agency, which states that no Islamist group attacked the monastery and no monk was taken hostage. The press release describes disinformation operations implemented by the media as "false and irresponsible" simply to draw attention and to fabricate false alarms about the plight of Christians in Arab Countries.
St. Catherine's Monastery, at the foot of Mount Horeb, currently houses about twenty Greek-Orthodox monks under the authority of an Archbishop/Abbot, and enjoys a unique status of autocephaly.
It is considered the oldest and still active Christian Monastery, and in 2002 was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its Byzantine architecture, its priceless collection of icons and the collection of ancient manuscripts.
In March, the monks of St. Catherine had been accused by the retired general Ahmed Ragai Attiya of having changed the topography of the area, of having hoisted the Greek flag on the Monastery during some special occasions and of having turned the Monastery into an area occupied by Greece and the European Union. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 28/10/2014)