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Suspicion surrounds murder of Coptic Orthodox bishop in Egypt

The Abbot of the Monastery of San Macario, Coptic Orthodox Bishop Epiphanius, is found murdered under suspicious circumstances.

By Francesca Merlo

Uncertainty reigns in Egypt over the death of a Coptic Orthodox bishop of Alexandria, Anba Epiphanius, Abbot of Saint Macarius the Great monastery (Dayr Abū Maqār).

Lifeless body found

The bishop was found lifeless inside the monastery at dawn on Sunday 29th of July. He was lying in a pool of blood on the way from his cell to the church. He had what appeared to be a head wound, supposedly inflicted by a sharp, heavy object.

His death was confirmed in an official note released by Fr. Boulos Hallym. In the note he added that the date of bishop Epiphanius’ funeral will only be provided once judicial authorities within the monastery have completed their investigation.

Local news sites speak of it as a “terrorist act” and a “criminal act”, according to Fides News Agency, though investigations have not yet provided any further information.

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Spiritual father

Anba Epiphanius, disciple of Matta el Meskin, was a spiritual father and key figure in the modern history of the Coptic Orthodox Church. He lived intense spiritual relationships with his friends and members of the monastic communities of the Catholic Church, according to the Fides Agency.

Scholar and medic

A native of Tanta, 64-year-old Abbot Epiphanius had a degree in medicine. He became a priest in 2002 after entering the Great Monastery of Saint Macarius in 1984. Abbot Epiphanius worked on translations, from Greek to Arabic, of several books of the Bible.

A researcher and scholar, he took part in the 10th international Conference on Coptic studies in Rome in 2012. One year later, on February 3rd 2013, he was elected Abbot by the 100 monks of the Monastery of Saint Macarius.

The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Pope Tawadros II, has sent his own delegates to the Monastery to obtain information on the tragic occurrence.

31 July 2018, 11:58