Pope Shenouda retreats to protest imprisonment of Omraneyya Copts

Emad Khalil

Coptic Pope Shenouda III has decided to retreat to the Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, said an informed source from the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The same source, which refused to be identified, said the pope has taken this step to protest the continuing imprisonment of 154 Copts who were arrested two weeks ago following clashing with the police over the building of a church in Omraneyya, Giza.

The pope said authorities are being inflexible and are ignoring 154 Coptic families’ suffering.

The pope would like to send a message to executive authorities highlighting the suffering of Copts, the source added, particularly since he places his trust in the regime and declines to discuss the problems of Copts with foreign officials.

The source further said that in sectarian incidents, authorities normally resort to informal reconciliation sessions but that in this particular incident, security authorities are refusing to release those detained, adding that Coptic protesters were severely beaten and two of them were killed.

The pope also said the Omraneyya incident has been exaggerated.

Commenting on the incident in his sermon last Wednesday, the pope had said, “The lives of Copts are not cheap. The church will not give up on its Coptic followers.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.