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Coptic cleric may face criticism for travel to Jerusalem

CWN - October 14, 2010

A Coptic Orthodox bishop faces criticism for traveling to Jerusalem, despite a ban by Coptic Pope Shenouda III on all travel to Israel.

A spokesman for Bishop Theodosius of Giza, Egypt, said that the Coptic prelate was in Jerusalem for medical attention—a purpose that would justify the trip. Pope Shenouda’s ban on travel is intended to halt all pilgrimages by Copts until the Israel and Palestine reach a peace agreement.

The ban on pilgrimages creates an odd situation, since the site in Jerusalem most frequently visited by Christian pilgrims, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is admininstered partially by the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Coptic prelates who work there—maintaining a constant presence in the Holy Sepulchre itself—remain permanently in Jerusalem rather than traveling to and from Egypt.

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