Minya (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Coptic Christians in Minya province are "taking back" their places of worship after a month of Islamist attacks and the imposition of the 'infidel' tax. Yesterday afternoon, thousands of people attended the first Mass celebrated in the church of the Virgin Mary in what is left of the Anba Abraam Monastery of to Delga (Minya, Upper Egypt).
This Sunday's service was the first since August 14, when Islamist s attacked Copts. The monastic compound devastated by the Muslim Brotherhood dates back to the fourth century.
Frs Abram Taneissa and Silwanis Lutfi conducted the office. On more than one occasion, the two Coptic Orthodox priests faced extremists, praying in the devastated nave of the church and bringing help to the families evicted from their homes.
Local sources said that yesterday's mass brought back hundreds of families that had fled Delga because of persecution.
They have returned not only to pray in their churches, but also to rebuild their homes in defiance of a military curfew and threats from extremists.
Recaptured by the army last Wednesday, the Islamist-held village has become infamous for the violent persecution of the local Christian community, which for weeks suffered all sorts of abuses, such as the destruction of 62 religious buildings and homes, abductions, summary executions, and the jizya tax infidels have to pay to the Muslim community to have their life spared.