Egypt detains another monk linked to abbot’s death
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Egypt detains another monk linked to abbot’s death

Police arrest 33-year-old Valtos for his role in murder of Bishop Epiphanius at St. Macarius Monastery

In this May 27, 2017 photo, a priest walks in front of St. Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha, Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
In this May 27, 2017 photo, a priest walks in front of St. Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha, Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities have detained another monk as part of their investigation into the death of an abbot in a monastery north of Cairo last month.

The state-run MENA news agency identified the 33-year-old monk by his monastic name, Valtos, and said Sunday that he is under police guard after an attempted suicide.

Word of the arrest came a day after prosecutors said a detained and recently defrocked monk, identified as Isaiah, confessed to collaborating with others to kill Bishop Epiphanius, abbot of St. Macarius Monastery. The bishop was found dead on July 29.

His funeral was attended by Pope Tawadros II, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christians, one the world’s oldest Christian communities.

Earlier this month the church announced a dozen measures related to monks’ activities after a meeting called “to discuss monastic order in light of the painful incident and martyrdom of Bishop Epiphanius,” a church statement said.

It said the number of monks at each monastery would be limited “to ensure monastic order” and they would be restricted from going outside without the abbot’s permission.

They are being warned against making media appearances “in any form” or involvement in unauthorized financial transactions.

Monks are also being given one month “to deactivate and close any social media pages or accounts and voluntarily renounce these behaviors that are not true to monastic life.”

It did not elaborate on why it decided the measures — which were ratified by Coptic Pope Tawadros II — were necessary in response to the bishop’s death.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Sunni Muslim population of 100 million.

They have long complained of discrimination and have been previously targeted by the Islamic State group although there is no evidence suggesting the bishop’s death was related to sectarian tensions.

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