A Coptic Orthodox priest, Father Arsanios Wadeed, 56, was fatally stabbed several times in the neck Thursday, April 7th, while on a youth outing in Alexandria.
He was walking with several boys from his parish along a Mediterranean promenade in Alexandria, returning to the bus after their beach outing.
The group was reportedly approached by a 60-year old man who appeared to be a beggar. Without warning, the man pulled a knife and stabbed Fr. Arsanios repeatedly in the neck in front of the boys.
Fr. Arsanios was rushed to the hospital. One of the knife blows had severed a main artery in his neck. The priest eventually succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital.
The man who stabbed the priest immediately darted away from the crime scene. Residents in the area arrested the man themselves, turning him over to the police, reported Egypt Today.
The suspect admitted to intentionally stabbing Fr. Arsanios during his interrogation but also reportedly stated that he was not aware of his actions until his arrest. He claimed that 10 years ago he had suffered with mental disorders and was treated for them in a mental health facility. The nature of his mental disorder is such that it makes him “lose control over his actions.”
Prosecution interviewed over 17 witnesses to the stabbing, AhramOnline reported.
Tuesday, the Egyptian government referred the man accused of the stabbing to trial. He was also accused of illegal possession of a knife. No date has been set for the trial, according to the AP, and if convicted, the suspect could face the death penalty.
Fr. Arsanios was an archpriest at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Mar Bolous in Alexandria. The next day after the priest’s murder, many Copts attended the priest’s funeral, reported Egypt Today. His body was carried to the cemetery of the martyrs at a monastery in Alexandria.
Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church bid the priest farewell in a touching statement: “With great pain, we bid farewell to him according to this tragic accident, raising our eyes to heaven towards our God, asking him for consolation for his virtuous wife and his blessed family, as well as for his church and all his loved ones and spiritual children.”
This shocking attack is an example of the persecution Christians in Egypt face everyday. Sudden violence such as Fr. Arsanios’ stabbing are frequent in Egypt and happen openly. Christians are 10% of Egypt’s population and repeatedly experience discrimination in the day-to-day as well as violence towards them and their families. Learn more about Egyptian Christians: 10 Facts about Christian Persecution in Egypt.
Would you consider giving to support persecuted Christians? Click here to donate now!
Image: Coptic priest, Arsanios Wadeed, 56, who was fatally stabbed in front of his church’s youth by an elderly man on April 7th, 2022. (Facebook).