Egypt Coptic Church halts accepting monks after bishop death

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church says it will not accept new monks in monasteries nationwide for a year after the recent death of a bishop inside a monastery in the desert northwest of Cairo.

The church said in a statement on Thursday that the measure, which goes into effect starting this month, is among others taken after Bishop Epiphanius, head of St. Macarius Monastery, also known as Anba Maqar, was found dead in the monastery earlier this week.

The circumstances surrounding the bishop's death remain unclear and the church did not say how, or if, it believes the monks' activities were connected to his death.

The church has given monks nationwide one month to shut down their social media accounts saying such behaviours are "inappropriate for the monastic life."

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