The eighteenth-century Coptic Catholic priest. Information about him comes from five Arabic manuscripts, three of which are at the Coptic Patriarchate of Cairo, and from a report made in Cairo on 4 October 1747 by the Franciscan priest Jacques de Kremsier, apostolic prefect of Egypt.
According to a manuscript from Faytrun, his father’s name was Mu’nis. Antuniyus was born in Cairo in 1703. He was one of a generation of Coptic Catholics who came to Rome to live as regular monks with the Ethiopian monks installed at San Stefano dei Mori from 1732. He was professed there according to the rule of Saint ANTONY of the desert, as he was always to emphasize in later years. At Rome he continued his studies in philosophy, and in 1735 he copied a manual of logic, which he probably used for his studies. After his theology studies at Rome, he was ordained a priest.
On 26 February 1743 he arrived in Cairo, where he began his work as a missionary secular priest. His mission consisted of “preaching in the people’s homes, visiting the Catholics, and not failing in his duty.” Thus in October 1747 he was in Cairo; how many years he continued to exercise this apostolate is unclear.
Much later, in 1760, we have evidence that Antuniyus was in Rome, copying manuscripts until 1763. He was still working in liaison with the missionaries of Egypt; thus the Hawadith al-I‘tiraf (Tales of Confessions) were copied “at the request and for the use of the Coptic Catholic monks and the missionaries” (Graf, no. B 3). He must have died shortly after 1775, the date of the last manuscript bearing his name.
In 1735, Antuniyus copied an anonymous manual of logic. On this occasion he signed himself Antuniyus ibn Mu’nis Mulukhiyyah. In 1760, Antuniyus copied eighty-two sermons, probably translated from the Italian, dealing principally with death, the Last Judgment, heaven, purgatory, hell, etcetera. (Coptic Patriarchate, Cairo, Theology 277; Graf, no. 513; Simaykah, no. 378).
In 1761 he copied the Casos raros de la confession by the Spanish Jesuit Christoval de Vega (1595-1672), translated from Italian to Arabic with the Riflessioni of Antonio Heraudo di Levenzo, under the title Hawadith al-I‘tiraf. The translation is by the Maronite Ibrahim Jalwan al-Simrani (Graf, 1949, p. 471, no. e; Coptic Patriarchate, Cairo, Theology 281; Graf, no. 514; Simaykah, no. 379).
In 1763 he copied a large folio manuscript of 686 pages containing the commentary on the Gospel of John by the Dutch Jesuit Cornelius a Lapide (d. 1637) for the use of the small Coptic Catholic community of San Stefano. The text was probably translated by the Copt RUFA’IL AL-TUKHI, who was living with him at San Stefano dei Mori (d. 1787). This is the only known manuscript of this commentary (Graf, 1951, p. 163, no. 8e; Coptic Patriarchate, Cairo, Theology 52; Graf, no. 508; Simaykah, no. 382).
Finally, in 1775, when he was probably too old to copy the manuscript himself, at his own expense he had copied in Cairo a large folio manuscript of 922 pages containing a lectionary of Holy Week, in Bohairic Coptic and Arabic, including the entire book of Revelation. The copy was made by the deacon (shammas) Dawud Mina al-Jizawi, nicknamed al-Muwaqqi‘, who professed to be “Coptic by race and Catholic by belief,” in the house of the Muallim Yuhanna Abu Ghubriyal. It was completed on 11 September 1775. Antuniyus donated this manuscript to Rufa’il al-Tukhi, as can be seen from fol. 1r: “MSS Copti di Monsig. Tuki Num. XIII.” It is now in the Vatican Library (Borgia Coptic 52; cf. Graf, Vol. 2, pt. 1,pp 199-204, with the colophon reproduced in full).
- Graf, G. Catalogue de manuscrits arabes chrétiens conservés au Caire, pp. 192-93. Studi e testi 63. Vatican City, 1934.
- Trossen, J.-P. Les Relations du patriarche copte Jean XVI avec Rome (1676-1718); pp. 201-18: Answer by Fra Giacomo da Cremsirio. Luxembourg, 1948.
KHALIL SAMIR, S.J.