File- The former monk Ash'eyaa al-Makary
CAIRO – 7 August 2018: Former monk Ash’eyaa al-Makary of the St. Macarius Monastery tried to commit suicide on Monday morning, a day after the Coptic Church stripped him of his sacerdotal rank, a source close to his family said.
The decision concerning the change in his rank came after Bishop Epiphanius was slain inside the monastery on Sunday. Ash’eyaa al-Makary was given back his secular name, Wael Saad Tawadros.
He was detained at the monastery clinic in Beheira governorate’s Natrun valley, but was released following prosecution order at 5:20 a.m. He reportedly used poison in his suicide attempt.
The church’s statement on its earlier decision regarding Tawadros cited actions that violated his monasticism.
Head of the monastery Bishop Epiphanius had requested that Tawadros is transferred from St. Macarius Monastery, but he collected signatures from fellow monks appealing for his stay.
Bishop Epiphanius was elected head of the monastery in 2013 after monks belonging to el-Meskeen voted for him and the rest abstained. Pope Tawadros tasked him with “uniting” the monastery.
The incident comes as part of a mysterious series of events at the vast, beautiful monastery.
Pope Tawadros II ordered a half in accepting new monks at all Coptic Orthodox monasteries in Egypt for a year starting August 2.
Faltaous al-Makary, a monk in his mid-thirties, also tried to commit suicide inside the St. Macarius Monastery on Monday.
The monk cut his wrist and then jumped off a high building inside the monastery. He was rushed to a hospital, but his condition does not allow him to be subject to further question.
St. Macarius Monastery has had a special status for decades. Late father Matta el-Meskeen (1919-2006) spent much of his later years there, granting it semi-independence from late Pope Shenouda (1923-2012). The two great Coptic icons were at odds ideologically, where el-Meskeen was considered more on the progressive side.
The monastery’s monks are generally known for their deep knowledge and spirituality.
After Father Matta el-Meskeen’s death, monks affiliated with Pope Shenouda’s school joined the monastery. Faltaous al-Makary and Wael Saad Tawadros belong to the waves of monks who joined the monastery following el-Meskeen’s death.
Reporting by Sara Allam