A monk at the MOUNT SINAI MONASTERY OF SAINT CATHERINE at the end of the thirteenth century. He is known from a note he left at the end of an Arabic Pentateuch (Sinai Arabic 4, copied by Jibril ibn Musa al-Katib in A.H. 353/A.D. 963). This note (on fol. 281b) reads, “The servant of the servants of the Word of God, Mikha’il al-Misri, read from this holy Pentateuch in the holy monastery of Tur Sina, this being in the year 701 of the Hijrah. May the Lord God grant pardon to him who prays for him.” This date corresponds to the year 1301-1302. This Melchite monk came from Cairo (Misr) as his ethnic surname indicates.
This monk may well be the same one who was present at the armistice between the king of Egypt, Mansur Qalawun, and the Republic of Genoa on 14 May 1290. This armistice stated that the Genoan signatories swore on the Gospel in the presence of Peter, the Melchite bishop of Misr, of Arsenius the abbot of the Melchite monastery of al-Qusayr near Cairo, of the deacon Matta, and of Mikha’il, monk of Sinai. The treaty was made at Cairo. A copy of this document is found in an anonymous work recounting the life of Mansur Qalawun (Brockelmann, 1949, Vol. 1, p. 551).
Mikha’il al-Misri should not be confused with Mikha’il ibn Ya‘qub ibn ‘Ubayd al-Misri, who in 1774 copied the two liturgies of JOHN CHRYSOSTOM and BASIL THE GREAT contained in Sinai Arabic 223 (Atiya and Youssef, 1980, p. 414).
- Atiya, A. S., and J. N. Youssef. Catalogue raisonné of the Mount Sinai Manuscripts, pp. 28-29 and 414. Alexandria, 1980. Brocklemann, C. Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur, 2d ed., Vol. 1. Leiden, 1949.
- Nasrallah, J. Histoire du mouvement littéraire dans l’église melchite du Ve au XXe siècle, Vol. 3, pt. 2, p. 56, n. 97. Paris and Louvain, 1981.
KHALIL SAMIR, S.J.