The long-running Egyptian-Ethiopian feud over the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Deir Al-Sultan monastery in Jerusalem erupted again yesterday when Ethiopian monks erected a giant Ethiopian flag on the site and attacked Egyptian monks present.
According to Egyptian media sources, Metropolitan of the Holy See of Jerusalem Anba Antonios responded by raising the Egyptian flag over the monastery, while Egyptian monks summoned Israeli police to force the Ethiopians to remove their banner.

Verbal altercations between monks from both sides were also reported in the monastery, prompting Israeli police intervention.
Deir Al-Sultan is a neighborhood within the walls of Jerusalem’s ancient city, in the Christian Quarter, named for Sultan Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi.

It was given to the Copts by the Sultan in recognition of their patriotic involvement in the fights against the Crusader troops that seized Jerusalem.

“The problem of the assault on Deir Al-Sultan recurs every year,” according to Anba Antonios, with the Ethiopians hoisting their flag “in an attempt to prove that the monastery is Ethiopian” two or three years ago.

“We are awaiting the implementation of a court ruling respecting our ownership of the monastery.” It is not theirs, and the government is expected to form a committee with us and Ethiopians to discuss how to put the ruling into effect,” he continued.

“We…received many assurances that the flag would be taken down. We met with the director-general of the Jerusalem Police and a number of police officers this year, before the celebrations and Holy Week, and told them we wanted to pray silently, and they promised to take care of everything,” he stated in a statement.

“We were astonished by the display of the large Ethiopian flag yesterday, so we notified the police, who stated they would contact the interior and foreign affairs ministries and convene a joint meeting,” he continued.

The archbishop disclosed that the Ethiopians harassed the only monk who lived in the monastery on a regular basis and stopped him from entering.

After Egyptian monks harbored the Abyssinians for three centuries due to their inability to pay taxes, a disagreement over ownership arose between the Egyptian church and its Abyssinian equivalent.

In 2019, the conflict was reignited over a tent on which the Ethiopian flag was flown.

Despite Israeli police intervention, Egyptian monks gathered in the monastery two days ago to remove the tent and the Ethiopian flag.


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