A Coptic bishop has been found dead inside a desert monastery in Egypt’s Beheira governorate, with the circumstances of his death still unknown*, reports AP.
Bishop Epiphanius, 64, was the head of St. Macarius Monastery, which is situated near the town of Wadi El Naturn, 100km northwest of Cairo, and is the oldest and biggest Coptic Orthodox monastery in Egypt.
It was reported by security officials that the bishop’s head was “smashed” and that he also had injuries to his back.
Monks at the monastery said that before the Sunday Mass on 29 July, the bishop had left his room at dawn to attend a group prayer meeting but was “intercepted by someone who came from behind him and hit him on the head with a sharp, heavy object”, Coptic news site Watani reports.
The monks later found the bishop dead, lying in a pool of blood. The monastery remains closed as a criminal investigation is underway, but a funeral for the bishop is expected to take place there tomorrow.
Bishop Epiphanius joined St. Macarius Monastery in 1984 and was ordained a priest in 2002, Catholic news agency Fides reports. He was elected as the Abbot of the monastery by 100 monks in February 2013.
*On 10 August 2018, a former monk at the monastery was arrested on suspicion of the bishop’s murder.