Egypt monk detained over murder of bishop

Egypt Monk Detained Over Murder Of Bishop

The killing last month of Bishop Epiphanius, a 64-year-old scholar who had led the Abu Makar Monastery in Wadi Natroun, prompted the church to impose strict new measures on its clergy.

Epiphanius' body was found with head injuries in late July lying in a corridor of the monastery, according to the church.

Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt's large Christian minority in recent years, including two deadly bombings on Palm Sunday in April 2017 and a blast at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral in December 2016 that killed 28 people.

The monk, Isaiah al-Makari, was presented on Friday to the prosecutor's office in Alexandria and was informed for the first time of the murder charge against him, his lawyer, Amir Nassif, told AFP.

The church had stressed that the monk was not dismissed from his ministry due to the investigations into the murder of Bishop Epiphanius, and said he had been investigated and sanctioned previously by the church before for breaking monastic rules.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population of some 100 million.

The church initially said it was because he had been investigated over long-standing violations of his duties.

He had head injuries, according to the church.

Monks are also being given one month "to deactivate and close any social media pages or accounts and voluntarily renounce these behaviors that are not true to monastic life".

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