AFRICA/EGYPT - Christian archaeological area risks demolition, Coptic monks lie down in front of bulldozers

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fayyum (Agenzia Fides) - The project to build a road that should unite the city of Fayoum to an oasis area crossing the territories around the Coptic monastery of St. Macarius, threatens an archaeological area that stretches around a church dating to the fourth century. The project also threatens the water supply of the monastery and some cultivated areas belonging to it. In recent days, the monks launched an initiative of non-violent resistance, lying in the path of bulldozers working on the project and led by workers who approached the monastery lands shouting "Allah Ackbar". The news is reported by Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides.
The incident between the monks and the workers is just the latest of a long dispute which arose around the road project. In the past, the monks submitted various alternative projects to the authorities that would allow to preserve the historical and natural heritage threatened by the route of the new road. The Coptic Church also established an ad hoc committee to encourage the search for alternative solutions, and in the past also the Ministry of Antiquities expressed its opposition to the project, recommending the full protection of the archaeological area. The Monastery of St. Macarius is located in Wadi el-Natrun, the ancient Scetes, 92 kilometers from Cairo. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/02/2015)