An Egyptian court has sentenced two monks to death for killing an abbot in a desert monastery north of Cairo last year.

The Damanhur Criminal Court, north of Cairo, announced the verdict Wednesday for two defrocked monks identified as Isaiah and Faltaous. They can appeal.

The two were convicted of killing of Bishop Epiphanius, an abbot at St. Macarius Monastery built in the 4th century, in July.

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2018 file photo, a priest leads prayers prior to Christmas Eve Mass at the Virgin Mary church, in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2018 file photo, a priest leads prayers prior to Christmas Eve Mass at the Virgin Mary church, in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

The abbot’s shocking death shook Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the oldest in the world and the one that gave monasticism to the faith.

Following Epiphanius’ death, the church took measures aimed at instilling discipline into monastic life. Among them was a halt in admitting novices to monasteries nationwide for a year.

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