AFRICA/EGYPT - "St. Mary’s fast": Copts pray for the Patriarch and monasteries after the murder of Bishop Epiphanios

Thursday, 9 August 2018 middle east   oriental churches   monasticism   marian devotion   marian worship  

Il Cairo

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - Coptic Orthodox Christians all over the world are experiencing the 15 days of "Holy Virgin Mary’s fast" praying with particular intentions for their Patriarch Tawadros II and for the monasteries in the Country, in the difficult moment the whole church is experiencing after the assassination of Anba Epiphanios, the bishop-abbot killed in the monastery of Saint Macarius on the morning of Sunday 29 July. The time of prayer and fasting will end on August 22, when the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. In the meantime, investigations continue to find the author and reason of the murder of Anba Epiphanios, without the arrest or incrimination of any suspect so far.
According to Egyptian media sources, in the last hours representatives of the Coptic Church have asked the judicial authorities to keep the partial results of the investigations confidential, avoiding indiscretions and leaks of news that end up fueling confusion. In recent days rumors - relaunched in the media, and then proved to be unfounded - of the alleged arrest of a collaborator of the monastery, who was also Anba Epiphanios’ chauffeur. Unverified rumors were also reported that surveillance cameras located in the monastery were not functioning. While there are rumors in the environments of the Copts diaspora in North America according to which the Egyptian security forces had tortured monks of Saint Macarius monastery to extort useful information for the investigation, violating also the most sacred areas of the monastery.
Meanwhile, in his last weekly sermon on Wednesday, Pope Tawadros used words of gratitude regarding the reality of Coptic monasticism, saying he was confident that the monastic communities will remain in the Egyptian deserts "until the end of the world", and will continue to offer future generations the riches of their spiritual gifts, which cannot be dispelled by weaknesses, errors, sins and crimes of individual persons. "The Christian faith" said among other things Pope Tawadros "is guarded by the Lord, and does not need other protectors". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/8/2018)