Monday, March 12, 2012

Egyptian Court Sentences Priest to Six Months for Excess Church Height

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

EGYPT (ANS) -- A court in Edfu has sentenced Rev. Makarios Bolous, pastor of St. George's Church in the village of Elmarinab, Edfu, in the Aswan province, to six months prison and a fine of 300 pounds for violations in the height of the church building.

According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih for the Assyrian International News agency (AINA), the court also ordered the removal of the excess height.

AINA said the church had received a license from the Governor of Aswan and was still under construction, but it was torched by a Muslim mob on Sept. 30 2011. Construction workers had started removing the excess height before the torching of the church.

“Since then no work has been done to it. We are not allowed to pray there or come near it by order of the authorities,” said Father Salib el-Deek of the Coptic Diocese of Edfu.

AINA said he added they had proof that the church applied several times to the police to remove the excess height, which it had started doing before the torching of the church, but were not granted permission. The police records were not allowed by the court as evidence.

AINA said the church lawyer also presented documents showing that Bolous is not the one who is responsible for the removal of the excess height, but the architect and the building contractor. 

However, AINA said, the court refused to take this into consideration and Bolous was convicted.

AINA reported that el-Deek also said that Bolous is not allowed to go inside the village by the village Muslims, and the government has done nothing about this.

AINA said Field Marshall Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, had given orders to the governor of Aswan to rebuild the church at the expense of the government.

“He even told this to Pope Shenouda personally and was mentioned in all papers,” AINA reported el-Deek said. “But the governor did nothing about it.”

AINA said the church will appeal the ruling.

For more information about AINA go to


Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."

Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at

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