Prosecutors in Egypt have charged a former monk with the murder of Coptic Orthodox Bishop Epiphanius, who was found dead on July 29 at his desert monastery. Source: Vatican News.
The murder of Bishop Epiphanius shocked members of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt.
The 64-year-old scholar served as the Abbot of the Monastery of San Macario, which is 100 kilometres outside the capital Cairo.
Police investigations concluded that the bishop had been struck with a sharp instrument; which had left him with fractures in the back of his skull.
Now prosecutors say Wael Saad, a former monk at the monastery – who was defrocked last week – confessed to using an iron bar to bludgeon the bishop; however, there is no known motive for the crime, but it is reported he was being investigated by the victim for violating some rules of monasticism.
Mr Saad has now been charged and remains in custody, as investigations continue. The Coptic Orthodox Church has frozen the recruitment of new monks for the next 12-months, banned the use of social media, and instructed monks that leaving monastery grounds requires official permission.
Bishop Epiphanius was a 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.
A native of Tanta, he had a degree in medicine. He became a priest in 2002 after entering the Great Monastery of St Macarius in 1984. Bishop 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, he was elected Abbot by the 100 monks of the Monastery of St Macarius.
Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of the population in Egypt.
Egyptian monk charged with murder of Coptic Orthodox bishop (Vatican News)
Coptic monk arrested over murder of bishop in Egypt (The Guardian)