John XIV


The ninety-sixth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (1570-1585). John was a native of the city of Manfalut in Upper Egypt. He was selected for this high ecclesiastical office from the Monastery of Our Lady known as DAYR AL-BARAMUS after an interregnum of approximately two years, during which the bishops and the clergy, as well as the Coptic archons, could not arrive at a decision for a suitable candidate. The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS provides no details of his secular life or his life as a monk in the wilderness of Shihat. But we must assume that his sanctity and his knowledge of Coptic church traditions were the decisive factors in his selection.

The History of the Patriarchs records that a new embassy from Rome arrived with an epistle from the pope of Rome bearing the same proposals as those received by JOHN XII half a century earlier. The Roman pontiff was seeking the submission of the Coptic Church (Fowler, 1901, p. 114). John XIV, like John XII, replied to it in the same essence, which indicates the independent place of the Coptic church. It is noteworthy, however, to point out that the secular Muslim regime of the country never interfered with these ecclesiastical missives between Rome and Alexandria.

John XIV was a contemporary of two Ottoman sultans, Selim II (1566-1574) and Murad III (1574-1595). There is little to report on the relations between the court at Constantinople and the patriarchate in Cairo, which was too remote from the center of power to attract any special attention by the Turkish sultans, who acted through local foreign viceroys dispatched to Cairo from Istanbul. Beyond the payment of the annual tax to the viceroy’s office, there is hardly any record of notable occurrences affecting the Copts.

After a relatively quiet reign of fifteen years, John XIV died and was interred in an unknown Coptic church, probably in Cairo.


  • Fowler, M. Christian Egypt. London, 1901.
  • Hanotaux, G., ed. Histoire de la nation égyptienne, 7 vols. Paris, 1931-1940.
  • Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt: Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1977.


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