Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church Defrocks Monk, Expels Another

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church Defrocks Monk, Expels Another

Wednesday, 5 September, 2018 - 10:15
Women pass by the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Cairo- Mohammed Nabil Helmi
Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church officially announced on Tuesday the suspension of a monk and the permanent expelling of another, both from the controversial Abu Makar monastery that witnessed the murder of two working monks last July.

The Monastic Committee, headed by the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawardos II, decided to defrock monk Yacoub al-Makary, who founded a monastery without church permission, and reinstated his civil name Wahba Atallah.

Church magazine al-Kiraza published the Monastic Committee’s decisions after their meeting on August 28 to follow up on several decisions issued a month ago to control the monasteries.

Atallah did not respond to all attempts by bishops to resolve the crisis, as the monastery was established without church consent and deviated from proper monastic behavior.

The monk’s criticisms came after the murder of Bishop Epiphanius, the head of the Saint Macarius Monastery, with two monks being tried over the crime.

On July 29, Bishop Epiphanius was found dead outside his residence in the monastery. Prosecution investigated 145 monks at the monastery.

The killing of Epiphanius inside the monastery caused an unprecedented storm that was followed by decisive measures by Pope Tawardos II, who decided in the wake of the incident to suspend the monks.

Both monks were banned from appearing in the media for any given reason, and were given a month to terminate any account on social networking sites such as Facebook.

However, Makary was suspended for a year for having criticized Pope Shenouda III in an audio recording posted on YouTube, blaming him for the divisions in the Saint Macarius Monastery at Wadi al-Natroun since 2010.

The official council of the church explained that the temporarily suspended monk “committed, in addition to his media appearance, an offense related to the abuse of Coptic Copts Shenouda III.”

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