Kha’il II

KHA’IL II

The fifty-third patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (849-851).

Kha’il succeeded YUSAB I without encountering opposition from the bishops, the clergy, and the Coptic archons. He was well known to them for his sanctity and his profound knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Originally, as a simple deacon, he had acted as a scribe and assistant to Yusab, and it was in that capacity that the Alexandrians first became acquainted with him. In due course, he pleaded with the patriarch to release him from his local duties and to permit him to go to the wilderness of Wadi Habib in the Western Desert.

Consequently, he entered the monastery of Saint John (Dayr Anba Yuhannis) and concentrated on prayers and further studies. He became widely known for his scholarship in all religious matters. When the delegation from Alexandria came to fetch him for consecration, he resisted, but they eventually forced him to accompany them to the city, where he was consecrated on 24 Hatur.

His reign was rather brief and uneventful, for he occupied the throne of Saint Mark for only one year and five months. His contemporary caliph was al-Mutawakkil (847-861) of the Abbasid dynasty, who enjoined the governor of the country to press the patriarch for immediate payment of his heavy taxes. Thus, the main problem facing him was the permanent and vexatious imposition of increasing annual taxation, which he, nevertheless, seems to have rendered to the satisfaction of the Islamic administration.

He was a man of frail physical stature, and the weighty duties of the patriarchal office seem to have been too much for him to bear. In the second year of his reign, he went back to Wadi Habib to celebrate Easter with the monks, following an established custom of previous patriarchs. There he fell seriously ill and died. He was buried in the Monastery of Saint Macarius (DAYR ANBA MAQAR).

AZIZ S. ATIYA

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