Egypt unveils renovations at oldest monastery

Associated Press Writer

ZAAFARANA, Egypt (AP) - Egypt's antiquities chief has announced the completion of an 8-year, $14.5 million restoration of the world's oldest Christian monastery, touting it as a sign of Christian-Muslim coexistence.

The unveiling Thursday of the work at St. Anthony's Monastery comes a month after Egypt's worst incident of sectarian violence in over a decade, when a shooting on a church on Orthodox Christmas Eve killed seven people.

Top archaeologist Zahi Hawass says the renovations show how Egypt cares for its monuments, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim. He describes the Dec. 6 shooting as an "incident that could happen between brothers."

The monastery was built in the mid-4th century by followers of St. Anthony, a founder of the monastic movement.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.