An agreement has been reached between the Coptic Orthodox Pope in Egypt and the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Cairo, Ahmed Kattan, on the establishment of the first church in Saudi Arabia since the arrival of Islam in 570 AD, The Tablet (British) website reports today (February 23, 2014).
MidEast Christian News reported that the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Tawadros II, thanked the King of Saudi Arabia and the Riyadh Government for their approval of the building of the church, which would be Coptic Orthodox.
Such a development would be remarkable, as the Saudi kingdom forbids all public expressions of Christianity and possession of items such as Bibles, crucifixes, religious statues, and other religious symbols. Mecca -- the capital of Saudi Arabia -- is the birthplace of Islamic Prophet Mohammed and the most holy city of Islam.
At the meeting of the Coptic Pope and the Saudi ambassador, the two discussed consolidating relations between the Church and Saudi Arabia, especially after the Saudi King pledged to send aid to Egypt after the June 30 military overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi -- an event welcomed by the Coptic Orthodox Church.