The funeral for Anba Epiphanius who passed away yesterday 29 July 2018 at age 64, will be held tomorrow 31 July at 12pm at the church of the Monastery of St Macarius in Wadi al-Natroun in Egypt’s Western Desert. The service will not be open to the public; only the bishops, priests, St Macarius’s monk assembly, and members of the Coptic Orthodox Melli (Community) Council and the Coptic Religious Endowments Authority may attend.
Anba Epiphanius, who was Abbot of the Monastery since March 2013, was found dead yesterday morning, lying in a pool of blood, having been hit on the head from behind with a sharp heavy object. Obviously, he was caught by his killer as he headed from his cell to church to attend the Matins Praise that usually precedes Sunday Mass. The Coptic Church issued a statement where it described Anba Epiphanius as an honorable monk and scholar. It declared that his death was shrouded in ambiguity, and thus the State authorities concerned were notified. “Investigations are now ongoing,” the statement said, “and we await the outcome.” As soon as Anba Epiphanius’s body was discovered the police was notified and the prosecution moved to the monastery to begin investigations. Later yesterday the body of Anba Epiphanius was taken to Damanhour public hospital for a post mortem investigation.
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, he 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 figure 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. In the statement issue by the Church, Pope Tawadros mourned in Anba Epiphanius “a true monk whose life was steeped in meekness and humbleness; also a scholar who possessed a wealth of knowledge that fruited research and publications in various branches of ecclesiastical studies”.
30 July 2018