IBRAHIM AL-GOHARY (?-1795)
A Minister of finance. He was one of the most important and influential Coptic laymen who contributed to the beginning of the renaissance of the Coptic Church in the 18th century. He was born in the district of Haret al-Saqqayen in Cairo, which was predominantly populated by Copts. He worked for two patriarchs, Mark VII (1745-1769) and his successor, John XVIII (1769-1796). He began his career during the tenure of Mu’lim Rizq, the administrator of finance of the Mamluk ‘Ali Bey in Ottoman Egypt. Under Ibrahim Bey, al-Gohary became the chief scribe of all Egypt, a position that is equivalent to finance minister.
Al-Gohary was one of the most influential personalities in the Egyptian state. He was a humanitarian who gave donations to needy families and was affable to everyone. He served the Coptic Church using his financial and political influence. During his lifetime many monasteries and churches all over Egypt were restored, and new churches were constructed. Al-Gohary was able to obtain permission from the Ottoman sultan to build the Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark at al-Azbakiah. His brother Girgis completed its construction. When al-Gohary died, Ibrahim Bey was saddened and went to participate in his funeral, although it was improper for a Muslim to do so. The tomb of al-Gohary is located near the Church of St. George in Old Cairo.