Eng. Ehab Zakaria, a member of the Egyptian Senate, condemned the Ethiopian monks’ violation of the historical rights of the Egyptian Church in Deir al-Sultan in Jerusalem, stressing that the Ethiopian political leadership stands behind these attacks.
This comes in the wake of the renewed crisis at the Deir al-Sultan monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem after Ethiopian monks erected a tent and raised the flag of their country inside, Sky News Arabia reported April 30. They noted that the monastery is owned by the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, so this action has greatly angered the Egyptian monks.
As a result, the Egyptian monks gathered in the monastery to remove the tent and the Ethiopian flag, which caused light clashes with the Ethiopian monks. The security forces rushed in to calm the situation.
Zakaria, in a statement, confirmed that the ancient Ethiopian Church ideologically and intellectually belongs to the Egyptian Orthodox Church, warning that such attempts that seek to sow discord are an indirect demolition of the Abyssinian Church and its contributions to the Orthodox heritage of the mother church in Egypt.
He explained, “The Egyptian state and its ancient church are aware that disguising under the cloak of religion in political conflicts is against humanity, which has previously caused a civilized retreat of mankind in the dark ages under false slogans of holy wars, so we are aware of the plots being hatched against the Egyptian state, especially that the monks’ violation against the Egyptian church coincides with Ethiopia’s violation against Egypt’s historical rights in the waters of the Nile.”
He added that the Egyptian Church has the right to defend its rights in light of the doctrinal constants, and the Egyptian state also has the right to defend its historical rights in light of national constants and their historical depth, as the rights of the people are not subject to be bargained.
He added, “Egypt can never waive its rights anywhere, and Ethiopian monks are no longer welcome in this monastery after they committed these provocative actions.”
The Egyptian Senate member also denounced the Israeli inaction to enforce the judicial rulings issued by the Israeli Supreme Court towards Deir al-Sultan.
Zakaria noted, “For decades the Egyptian Coptic Church used to receive Ethiopian monks inside the monastery in the absence of shelter, but then they tried to control the monastery. Consequently, skirmishes broke out with the Egyptian monks.”
He explained,” The monastery is one of the most important Arab holy sites located in East Jerusalem, specifically in the Christian Quarter next to the Queen Helen Coptic Orthodox Church, and the corridor leading to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.