Mark VIII

The 108th of the See of Saint Mark (1796-1809).

He was able to steer the affairs of the Coptic church and the Coptic community with great wisdom and much diplomacy during the momentous events of the Expedition (1798) and the French occupation of Egypt. He was still of the Coptic church when MUHAMMAD ‘ALI (1805-1848) became viceroy of Egypt. made it a habit to issue regular encyclicals to be read in the Coptic churches, urging his people to maintain the traditional doctrines and virtues at a time when many were slipping into vicious customs.

The building of the Cathedral of Saint Mark at al-Azbakiyyah was started toward the end of Mark’s reign. The story of obtaining the decree authorizing that building from the is associated with the name of the notable Copt IBRAHIM AL- JAWHARI, then the head of the scribes of the whole of Egypt. In his official capacity, he was able to organize the pilgrimage to Mecca of one of the sultan’s ladies and in the meantime offered to her valuable presents.

In recognition of his services, she asked him to submit a wish that she would carry to the sultan. Ibrahim at once requested a decree for building the church, which was immediately granted. The building, however, was carried out in the time of his brother, JIRJIS AL-JAWHARI, who succeeded him in the diwan after his death. The cathedral was built on land belonging to General YA‘QUB and MALATI YUSUF, and that area became the seat of the new patriarchate.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Tawfiq Iskarus. Nawabigh wa-Mashahiruhum fi al-Qarn al-Tasi‘ ‘Ashar, 2 vols. Cairo, 1910-1913.
  • Ya‘qub Nakhlah Rufaylah. Tarikh al- al-Qibtiyyah. Cairo, 1899.