Egypt probes death of monk from murdered bishop's monastery
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian prosecutors are investigating the death of a monk who was from the monastery where a bishop was murdered in June, a case that has rattled the biggest church in the Middle East. Zenon al-Makari, 45, died while being rushed to hospital after suffering severe stomach pains. He had served as a confessional priest for two defrocked monks charged with the murder of the Bishop Epiphanius on July 29, fellow monks said
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian prosecutors are investigating the death of a monk who was from the monastery where a bishop was murdered in June, a case that has rattled the biggest church in the Middle East.
Zenon al-Makari, 45, died while being rushed to hospital after suffering severe stomach pains. He had served as a confessional priest for two defrocked monks charged with the murder of the Bishop Epiphanius on July 29, fellow monks said.
A Church spokesman said Zenon had suffered a "sudden health crisis" and prosecutors were investigating the cause of death.
Zenon was one of six monks that Coptic Church authorities had relocated away from the Abu Makar (Saint Macarius) Monastery some 110 km (70 miles) northwest of Cairo, a month after the murder there, on Aug. 25.
Monks at the al-Muhharaq Monastery in Assiut, where Zenon was transferred, said he had been distressed and declined to mix with other monks.
He was on a list of witnesses scheduled to testify in the trial of the two former monks, which opened last week, according to a lawyer involved in the trial and a security source in Beheira province, where the hearing is taking place.
The murder of Bishop Epiphanius had rocked the Church in a country where Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of the 96 million population.
Pope Tawadros immediately ordered a freeze on accepting new monks, a ban on monks leaving monasteries without permission, and a ban on clergy using social media.
Judicial sources said one of the monks accused of the killing, Wael Saad, known by his monastic name Isaiah al-Makari, had confessed during questioning to the murder.
Egyptian media reported this week that Saad, at his first hearing, had denied killing Epiphanius and said he had confessed under pressure.
In a statement last month, the prosecution said Saad had long had differences with his superiors, who had on one occasion investigated him for breaking monastery traditions.
The second monk accused of involvement in the murder, Ramon Rasmi Mansour, threw himself from the monastery roof this month. He has been treated in a Cairo hospital where he has also been questioned, judicial sources told Reuters.
(Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.