• 14:51
  • Tuesday ,10 April 2012
العربية

More Egyptian Christians defy late pope's Holy Land travel ban

By-Ahram

Copts and Poliltical Islam

00:04

Tuesday ,10 April 2012

More Egyptian Christians defy late pope's Holy Land travel ban

Around 100 Coptic Christians flew from Cairo to Tel Aviv Monday in contravention of a ban placed on travel to the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Church's late patriarch Pope Shenouda III.

"I am travelling to witness the divine light of Christ that glows in Jerusalem," one of the pilgrims said.
 
Since Friday, a number of Air Sinai flights to Israel have ferried large numbers of Egyptian Coptic Christians to the Holy Land.
 
An official source at Cairo International Airport said two flights travelled to Israel Friday carrying 104 passengers.
 
"This is an unprecedented move since the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty," the source said, pointing out that around two daily trips are planned to the Holy Land.
 
The step comes after the death in March of the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, known as the "Arabs' Pope." In an anti-Zionist stance, Shenouda issued a papal decree in 1979 prohibiting Copts from travelling to Israel in solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
 
The St Helena Chapel, the Egyptian part of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, has so far denied entry to Egyptian Christians who sought to celebrate Easter there.