Sources close to the ex-monk Ishaia’ al-Maqari who was defrocked yesterday, 5 August, said that ever since the decision to defrock him was announced, he left the monastery. He is currently is in the custody of the police pending investigations into the murder of the late Abbot Anba Epiphanius who was brutally murdered on Sunday 29 July when he left his cell and headed to the church for the Midnight Praise that precedes Holy Mass.
The Church spokesperson issued a statement yesterday to confirm that the ex-monk was defrocked for strictly monastic violations and that the defrocking had nothing to do with the murder of Anba Epiphanius.
Police investigations into the murder are still ongoing, and no charges have been officially made against anyone.
The statement said that an enquiry had been made by the Committee of Monastic and Monastery Affairs, early in 2018, into Ishaia’ al-Maqari’s reported violation of the monastic laws of obedience and poverty, and his refusal to deal with the Abbot or his deputy, or to carry any responsibility he was asked to burden. The report, which had been presented to Pope Tawadros, said that Ishaia’ al-Maqari was set to form a hostile front in the monastery against the Abbot. The Committee then took a decision that the monk should be removed from the monastery for three years. A group of St Macarius monks, however, signed a petition asking for Ishaia’ al-Maqari to remain in the monastery, and pledged to help him repent and correct his erroneous behaviour. The then Abbot, Anba Epiphanius, raised the petition to Pope Tawadros, with a plea to accept it. The Pope duly accepted.
Unfortunately, the recent statement said, nothing changed since the petition was accepted; Ishaia’ al-Maqari persisted in his violations, and the Committee had to defrock him.
When Anba Epiphanius was murdered, many on social media speculated that the defrocking was connected to the crime. The current statement absolutely denied this.
6 August 2018