The new Egyptian government says it will consider reopening churches that were shut down by former President Hosni Mubarak.
Leaders are evaluating 48 closed churches on a case by case basis. The new cabinet is also talking about granting equality to Christians who want to build new churches.
Egyptian Christian activist Amir Ramzy also called the news a "happy surprise."
"That's the greatest hope of the believers in Egypt. That there will be an ultimate government that will protect the religious minorities of the country. That would be their greatest dream," said Paul Estabrooks of the religious freedom group Open Doors USA. "That's what we can pray for and that's what we can work for politically and spiritually in asking God to bring this about for our brothers and sisters in this country."
The decision follows an increase in violence between Muslim extremists and Coptic Christians. A recent clash left 13 people dead and a church burned.
Coptic Christians are still hoping a future Egyptian government will bring them new freedoms.