IBRAHIM IBN SULAYMAN AL-NAJJAR AL-MIRI
An eighteenth-century copier of manuscripts. Ibrahm is mentioned nowhere, but certain elements of his life and literary activity can be reconstructed from the manuscripts he copied. These are now found in Cairo, at the Coptic Museum and the Coptic Patriarchate.
His ethnic surname shows that he came from Mir, a place probably situated between al-Qusiyyah and Manfalut. He was probably a carpenter by trade, but he abandoned this name once he was ordained a priest. It seems he soon settled in Cairo, if indeed he was not born there. He wrote both Arabic and Coptic equally well.
At the request of the 103rd patriarch, JOHN XVI (1676-1718), in 1702 he copied a manuscript of the consecration of CHRISM and holy oil in Coptic and Arabic, a liturgical poem for the patriarch in Arabic, and an account of how the chrism should be placed in the vessels. At this date he was still a layman.
At the request of Mu‘allim ‘Awad al-Mahallawi, in 1709 he copied a collection of 149 poems in simple literary Arabic, composed by Anba Bistawrah known as al-Hariri (Coptic Patriarchate, Theology 290; Graf, no. 533; Simaykah, no. 333).
In 1720 he copied a lectionary in Coptic for the Sundays from Easter to Pentecost and for certain feasts. By this time he had been ordained a priest and was the parish priest of Sitt Barbarah in Old Cairo (Coptic Museum, Cairo, Liturgy 318; Simaykah, no. 210; Graf, no. 690).
At the request of the archon al-Mu‘allim Bisharah Abu Yuhanna al-Tukhi, in 1729 he copied a lectionary for the Sundays of the first six months of the year in Arabic only. This manuscript was given as a bequest by the archon to the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus at Old Cairo. At this date, Ibrahim was a HEGUMENOS still serving at the Church of Sitt Barbarah at Old Cairo (Coptic Museum, Liturgy 287; Simaykah, no. 212; Graf, no. 687).
In 1743, he copied the 151 Psalms and the Canticles in two columns, Coptic and Arabic. He donated this manuscript to the Church of Sitt Barbarah (Coptic Patriarchate, Bible 7; Simaykah, no. 82; Graf, no. 275).
Last, in December 1749, Hegumenos Ibrahim copied, at the request of Manqariyus Abu Bisharah, a collection in Arabic of an essentially canonical character, containing the DIDASCALIA of the Apostles, the CANONS OF CLEMENT, the eighty-one Apostolic Canons, and two homilies for 3 Nasi in honor of the Archangels Michael and Raphael (Coptic Patriarchate, Canon 28; Graf, no. 553; Simaykah, no. 573). This manuscript was given as a bequest to the Church of the Virgin of Harit al-Rum in Cairo, by Anba Athanasius, who was probably bishop of Abu Tij.
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte a l’époque copte, p. 402. Paris, 1893.
- Coquin, C. Les Edifices chrétiens du Vieux-Caire, Vol. 1, p. 122. Bibliothèque d’études coptes 11. Cairo, 1974.
- Graf, G. Catalogue de manuscrits arabes chrétiens conservés au Caire, pp. 108 (no. 275), 200 (no. 533), 208 (no. 553), 253-54 (nos. 687 and 690). Vatican City, 1934.
KHALIL SAMIR, S.J.