Abbot’s murder in desert monastery shocks Egypt’s Christians

5760Source: Associated Press

By HAMZA HENDAWI and SAMY MAGDY

CAIRO (AP) — It reads like a murder mystery set in an exotic locale: an abbot found dead in a desert monastery; a monk defrocked and arrested; another held by police and hospitalized after trying to kill himself — or did his fellow monks stage a revenge attack?

The killing of Bishop Epiphanius, who was found dead on July 29, has opened a window into the cloistered world of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world and the one that introduced monasticism to the faith.

Authorities investigating the killing at the 4th century St. Macarious Monastery north of Cairo have questioned nearly 150 people, including monks and bishops, and news of the investigation has been splashed across front pages and discussed on TV talk shows.

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