Egypt’s Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadeq has issued a statement charging Wael Saad Tawadros, 34, and the monk Falta’os al-Maqari, 33, with the premeditated murder of Anba Epiphanius who was Abbot of St Macarius Monastery in Wadi al-Natroun in Egypt’s Western Desert.
Anba Epiphanius was brutally killed in the early hours of Sunday 29 July 2018 as he left his cell and headed to the monastery church for the Praise that precedes Sunday Mass. He was hit on the head with a sharp heavy object by someone who came from behind him. His skull was crushed open; he directly breathed his last.
Once the monks found the Abbot dead, lying in a pool of blood, they informed Pope Tawadros II who ordered that the police and relevant authorities should be directly notified.
Investigations revealed that the two suspects, Mr Tawadros and Falta’os al-Maqari were the sole ones involved in committing the crime. Mr Tawadros confessed and led to the instrument he had used to kill Anba Epiphanius: a square iron beam which he later hid in a scrap store on the monastery grounds. He said he killed the Abbot with three blows on the head.
Falta’os had stood by, guarding the way. On 6 August, fearing that his part in the crime was rapidly unfolding, he attempted suicide by slitting the arteries in his wrist and jumping off a four-storey building. He was rescued, however, and moved to a Cairo hospital where he eventually recovered sufficiently to be questioned by the prosecution. He confessed to his role in the crime.
Now that both men have been officially charged with premeditated murder, the case should go to court.
Mr Tawadros had taken orders in 2010, under the name Ishaia’ al-Maqari, at St Macarius’s, but was defrocked on 6 August by the Committee for Monasticism and Monastery Affairs, a committee affiliated to the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod. The reasons cited for the defrocking, which had been under deliberation since early 2018, strictly pertained to violations of monastic law.
The monk Falta’os al-Maqari had also taken orders at St Macarius’s in 2010.
In reply to questions on the motive behind the murder, the two men said it was owing to financial and doctrinal disputes.
For details of investigation:
19 August 2018