Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said on Sunday it has defrocked a monk at Abu Maqar Monastery in Wadi El-Natroun where a bishop was killed last week.
In an official statement, the Coptic Orthodox Church said it has decided to defrock Isaiah El-Maqary following an investigation by the monastic affairs committee of the Holy Synod, after accusations that he had committed actions unbecoming of a monk.
The decisions were ratified by Pope Tawadros II.
The defrocked monk was ordered to be released from the monastery and to return to his former, non-monastic name Wael Saad Tawadros.
The head of the monastery, Bishop Epiphanius, was found dead at the monastery on 29 July under what the church has described as “suspicious circumstances.”
Prosecutors are currently investigating the murder.
It is unclear if the defrocked monk is being investigated in relation to the case.
The church urged the former monk to ask for “repentance” for salvation and eternal life and called on all Copts to preserve the purity of monasticism and not to violate it.
Sunday’s decision comes a few days after the Holy Synod, the highest decision-making body in the church, issued new decrees prohibiting monks’ use of social media, media appearances by monks, and the construction of unlicensed worship sites.
The decrees also included a one-year suspension on the process of initiating new monks, and a three-year suspension of the ordination of monks as priests and archpriests.