CAIRO – 8 August 2018: Naguib Gabriel, chairman of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights, denied any link between former Monk Ash’eyaa el-Makary, who was stripped of his sacerdotal rank on Sunday, and the murder of Bishop Epiphanius that took place in late July.
In an interview with the Coptic Youtube Channel Youmy Maak on Monday, Gabriel said that the investigation is still ongoing, urging media to stop discrediting Ash’eyaa by directing baseless accusations at the former monk. He added that security authorities have not yet revealed the perpetrator.
Ash’eyaa of the St. Macarius Monastery tried to commit suicide a day after the Coptic Church of Alexandria decided to strip him of his rank, a source close to his family revealed.
He was detained at the monastery's 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.
Gabriel called on Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria to speak to people and disclose the circumstances of the unfamiliar crime that took place inside the monastery. Gabriel expected on Tuesday in an interview with 90 minutes program on al-Mihwar channel that the Pope’s speech to media can help protect the country from harm.
Gabriel said that monks of the St. Macarius Monastery are in a bad psychological condition due to the recent incidents.
On the same day Ash’eyaa attempted to kill himself, Faltaous al-Makary, another monk in his mid-thirties, deliberately cut his wrist and then jumped off a high building inside the monastery, according to a source in the church who refused to give a name.
The head of St. Macarius Monastery, Bishop Epiphanius, was found dead and covered in blood on July 29; however, Church spokesman Boules Halim denied any links between the expulsion of Ash'eyaa and the murder, saying that investigation is still ongoing.
In a statement signed by Pope Tawadros II, the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, the Orthodox Church revealed that a monastic investigation was conducted with Ash’eyaa by a special committee formed by the Monastic Committee and the Monasteries Affairs of the Holy Synod.
The church said the former monk was investigated for the accusations issued against him and the “inappropriate actions” he committed which contradicted with monastic behavior and life, as he violated the commitment to the principles and vows of monasticism, including voluntary poverty, obedience and virtue.
The church’s statement did not explain the "inappropriate actions" committed by Ash’eyaa; instead, it expelled him from the St. Macarius Monastery in Wadi El-Natrun, to return to his birth name, Wael Saad.