An Egyptian church congregation has celebrated its first mass in seven years.
Church of the Virgin Mary and Martyr Abanoub Al Nahisi, in a village south of Cairo, was closed eleven years ago by local authorities who cited security reasons.
The church members had been attending another church in a nearby village in the meantime.
Around 1,600 people celebrated the completion of the first stage of the new church building on Sunday.
According to World Watch Monitor, the Copts have been persecuted by Muslim neighbors since the closure of the church.
It’s been reported that Muslims set fire to four Coptic Christian homes in the village two years ago when it was suspected that the homes would be turned into a church.
The Christians withdrew their arson complaints last year in exchange for permission to build a new church.
As soon as the charges were dropped in January, the community started building the new church building.