Egypt's Copts resume travel to Jerusalem after years of boycott
April 26, 2016
Coptic Christians from Egypt are flocking to Jerusalem on pilgrimage this year, the Fides news service reports, marking an end to a ban on travel by Copts to Israel.
The late Coptic Pope Shenouda III had instructed the faithful not to travel to Israel because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that ban remained in effect even after Egypt and Israel established diplomatic relations. But pilgrimages slowly resumed after his death in 2012. Last November the new Coptic Pope Tawadros II traveled to Jerusalem for the funeral of the Coptic Archbishop Abraham, and his presence there was taken as a sign that the ban was rescinded.
This year, nearly 6,000 Egyptian Copts have already traveled to Jerusalem, with the numbers increasing steadily as the Copts, who follow the Orthodox calendar, approach the celebration of Easter.