Wadi Natroun: Bishop Epiphanius murdered inside St Macarius Monastery

Anba Epiphanius

It has been close to 24 hours since news broke of the sudden passing of Bishop Ephiphanius, Bishop and Abbot of the Monastery of St Macarius in Wadi al-Natroun in Egypt’s Western Desert.  It seems that His Grace was murdered and investigations are underway.  

Anba Epiphanius, Bishop and Abbot of the Western Desert Monastery of St Macarius in Wadi al-Natroun, has reportedly been murdered inside his monastery.

Monks of St Macarius’s say he had left his cell at dawn to attend Matins Praise that precedes Sunday Mass, but was  intercepted by someone who came from behind him and hit him on the head with a sharp, heavy object.

The Abbot was later found by the monks lying in a pool of blood, dead.

Anba Epiphanius was born in the mid-Delta town of Tanta in June 1954, and went on to earn a medical degree in 1978.

In February 1984, he took orders at the monastery of St Macarius and, in October 2002, was ordained a priest.

In 2013, Anba Epiphanius was elected Abbot of St Macarius’s through a secret ballot among the monks. He is famous for his discipleship to Father Matta al-Meskeen who preceded him as supervisor of the monastery. Fr Matta was a leading figures in spiritual and modern theological studies in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Anba Epiphanius was himself a seasoned researcher. He was in charge of the monastery’s huge reference and manuscript library which includes priceless material in various languages.

St Macarius’s published several of books written by Anba Epiphanius, including an Arabic translation of the Book of Genesis from ancient Greek, and the St Bassili Liturgy. Under print are his ancient-Greek-to-Arabic translation of the Book of Exodus, the Gregorian Liturgy, and a modern version of the classic on monastic life: Bustan al-Rubbaan (The Garden of the Monks).

Anba Epiphanius was eager to participate in local and international symposia or seminars on Coptic Studies; the most recent was “Copts in Modernity” which was organised jointly by HG Bishop Suriel  and the University of Divinity in Melbourne earlier this month.

 

 

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