CAIRO – 31 July 2018: The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria announced Sunday the death of head St. Macarius Monastery in Wadi El-Natrun, Bishop Epiphanius.
The late bishop had set an example for the modest scholar and ascetic monk who continued to serve the country and the culture, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Mostafa el-Feki said, mourning murdered Bishop Epiphanius.
The church’s statement mentioned that the bishop’s death is being investigated by the security authorities as mystery shrouds the incident.
Wagih Mikhail, head of the Center for Middle Eastern Christianity of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, said that Bishop Epiphanius lectured Muslims and Christians in the seminary, adding that he won the hearts of his students.
When Bishop Epiphanius was invited to an international Christian conference, he came early and gave a perfect academic speech, Wagih said. On the following day, Epiphanius sat in the last row in the hall and refused to sit in one of the front rows, saying: “yesterday I was a speaker. Today I came to learn,” Wagih added describing the late bishop’s modesty.
Bishop Epiphanius gives a perfect academic speech at an international Christian conference – Press photo
Bishop Epiphanius was born in 1954 in Tanta, Gharbia governorate and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine. In February 1984, he joined the Monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi El-Natrun and only a few months later, he was ordained as a monk. He was ordained as a priest in 2002, and was elected as the head of the monastery in 2013.
The late bishop was found dead and covered in blood on Sunday morning. The preliminary security investigation suggested that Bishop Epiphanius was hit by a sharp object. The body of the bishop was transferred to the morgue of the Wadi El-Natrun Central Hospital.
Suggestions that the crime is part of a terrorist attack were reportedly excluded as the bishop was not a famous public figure and did not look different from the monks inside the St. Macarius Monastery.
Monk Basil of the St. Macarius Monastery told Al-Watan that 130 monks live in the monastery and that the body of Bishop Epiphanius was discovered by Monk Gabriel. A part of Epiphanius’s brain got out of his skull which enhances the probability that the bishop was hit by a sharp object.
Monk Basil said that the crime took place at 3 a.m., adding that the monastery contacted Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria following the discovery of the crime. Basil excluded the possibility that Epiphanius was murdered by a thief, as Epiphanius did not own anything and none of his stuff was reported missing.
Basil suggested that the killer is someone inside the monastery as the killer surely knew that the monastery's passage where Epiphanius was killed is out of the surveillance cameras reach. In addition, he targeted the head of the monastery in particular.
The monk said that he cannot accuse anyone of committing the crime, saying that there were no disputes between Bishop Epiphanius and other monks or workers.