Egyptian authorities investigate death of Coptic Bishop

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announced that authorities will open an official investigation into the death of Bishop Epiphanius, Head of the Saint Macarius Monastery, due to the suspicious circumstances of his death.

“Due to the shadowy circumstances surrounding the details of his departure, official investigations by formal parties have commenced, and questioning is now underway regarding this matter. We await what the results of these investigations will reveal,” the Church wrote in a press statement.

The Bishop’s sudden death was announced on Sunday by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It was soon followed by official condolences by Pope Tawadros II, who remarked that the bishop was a symbol of modesty and kindness.

Bishop Epiphanius was found dead in front of his own monastic cell by officials of the Saint Macarius Monastery, surrounded by a pool of blood. The officials immediately notified the Wadi Al-Natroun police, whose first glance revealed that the Bishop had fractures in the back of his skull – suggestive of murder.

Preliminary investigations suggested that an unknown person may have hit the Bishop’s head with a sharp instrument as he was leaving the monastic cell, which is a domed building monks frequently visit for worship, usually in remote areas.

The bishop’s body was transferred to the morgue of Wadi Al-Natroun General Hospital. The prosecution has appointed a forensic doctor for the autopsy, to help confirm the cause of death and the instrument used in the incident.

Meanwhile Major General Alaa Abdel-Fattah has formed an investigative team to analyse the incident, and ultimately arrest whoever is responsible.

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