FILE - Bishop Epiphanius
CAIRO – 23 February 2019: Damanhur Criminal Court ruled on Saturday to refer two Coptic Christian monks to Egypt's top religious authority for consideration of the death penalty against them over killing Head of St. Macarius Monastery in Wadi El-Natroun, Bishop Epiphanius in July 2018.
The expelled monk Ash’eyaa, whose birth name is Wael Saad, and Monk Faltaous al-Makary, whose birth name is Raymond Rasmi Mansour, were charged of deliberate murder of Bishop Epiphanius.
During the trial, Ash’eyaa pleaded not guilty, claiming that he was framed, al-Dostor newspaper reported.
Bishop Epiphanius was found dead on July 29 inside the monastery and two monks, who were kept in detention pending investigation since then, confessed their crime.
Monk Faltaous al-Makary tried to commit suicide via slitting his wrist and then jumping off a high building inside the monastery. On August 21, he was hospitalized due to a degraded case of gangrene in his leg. Also, Ash’eyaa tried to commit suicide a day after the murder.
Following the death of Bishiop Epiphanius, Pope Tawadros II issued new monasticism laws, topping which is the deactivation of the social media accounts of all monks and bishops. The death of Bishop Epiphanius revealed the struggle between the school of late Pope Shenouda and the ecclesiastical school of late Matthew the poor.
“We should look at it [the incident of the murder] as a wake-up call for all of us... the death of Bishop Epiphanius was like an alarm call,” said Tawadros II, pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, during a mass marking the 40th day of the bishop’s death.