In News & Reports

The Coptic Orthodox Church announced, Tuesday that three monks were criminally attacked in the Coptic monastery of St. Mark and St. Bishop Samuel in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In an official statement, the church explained that the accident resulted in the martyrdom of three monks named: “Monk Tekla Samueli, representative of the Diocese of South Africa. Monk Justus Ava Marcus. Monk Mina Ava Marcos.”

The church added that all relevant agencies moved to the monastery and began to investigate the circumstances of the incident. The Egyptian ambassador in Johannesburg also went to the monastery to follow up on the situation.

Pope Tawadros II, according to the statement, is following all the details of the incident closely, waiting to know its causes.

The Church expressed its extreme pain over the tragic incident, and extended its sincere condolences to the families of the three monks.

According to the BBC (in a report dated March 13), an Egyptian member of the Church has been arrested as a possible suspect.

A source at the church told TimesLIVE the arrested member was on probation to become a Coptic monk.

“He is an Egyptian brother in the probation to be a monk and when police did investigations there was no external and forceful entry into the monastery, indicating what happened took place internally,” he said.

Police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi confirmed an arrest was made on Tuesday and the suspect, 35, is expected to appear in the Cullinan magistrate’s court on Thursday.

The murder has sent shockwaves throughout the Coptic Orthodox community in South Africa and beyond.

Archbishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in London described the murders as “saddening and shocking”.

They were killed at the Saint Mark and Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery in Cullinan, a small town 30 km (18 miles) east of the capital, Pretoria.

All three were discovered with stab wounds, provincial police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

A survivor told the police he was hit by an iron rod but managed to escape and hide.

The police are still trying to determine the motive for the killings, Col Nevhuhulwi said, adding that the attackers “reportedly left the scene without taking any valuable item(s)”.

The Associated Press reported (on March 14) that two men accused of fatally stabbing three Egyptian monks belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church this week appeared in a South African court Thursday and will remain in custody until their next court appearance.

Saeed Basanda, dressed in a blue T-shirt and with a white bandage wrapped around his left hand, has been identified as a 37 -year-old Egyptian national.

His co-accused, Samuel Avamarkos, is identified in the charge sheet as a 47 year-old South African citizen.

They both registered their addresses as the same plot in the town of Cullinan, east of the capital, Pretoria, where the murders took place.

The case has been postponed to 27 March for the two to get legal representation and an Arabic translator that they have requested.

The two were arrested after the monks were killed Tuesday at the Saint Mark the Apostle and Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Cullinan, where a fourth person was also beaten with an iron rod before escaping to safety, according to police.

Members of the church, wearing black robes, were in the courthouse gallery and sat quietly as the brief proceedings took place.

Violent crime levels are high in South Africa and the country has one of the world’s highest murder rates.

Monks in the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the world’s oldest churches, devote their lives to prayer and spiritual growth.



Recent Posts

Leave a Comment