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Egypt: Wadi Al-Natrun Drama Haunts Coptic Church

Egypt: Wadi Al-Natrun Drama Haunts Coptic Church

Tuesday, 7 August, 2018 - 07:45
In this May 27, 2017 file photo, a priest walks in front of St. Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha, Egypt. (AP)

The monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun in northern Egypt have been witnessing a series of dramatic events, the latest of which was an attempt by a monk to commit suicide on Monday, an incident that the church preferred to remain silent about.

The suicide attempt came days after the killing of a bishop in mysterious circumstances and the defrocking of a monk.

Church sources told local media that the young monk attempted suicide by slitting his wrists and throwing himself from the highest building in the monastery.

“He was transferred to Natrun hospital in a serious condition,” the sources added, without giving details on the cause of the suicide or whether it was related to the investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Egypt into the murder of Bishop Epiphanius, the abbot of Saint Macarius Monastery, on July 29. His body was found with severe head injuries.

Sources said the authorities have so far questioned more than 450 workers and monks in the monastery as part of the investigations into the murder.

The attempted suicide came hours after the Coptic Church’s decision to dismiss another monk, Isaiah Macarius, based on an investigation by a church committee that found him guilty of committing acts deemed “incompatible with monastic conduct”.

For its part, the Coptic Church preferred to remain silent about the incident and no statements were made regarding attempted suicide.

The Church has recently instituted new controls in the monasteries, including asking the monks to voluntarily renounce behaviors and actions that were inappropriate for monastic life.

It also said that all monks should comply with the new rules or face defrocking. The measures included suspending any social media activity and refraining from any statements to the press.

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