RUFA’IL AL-TUKHI (1701-1787)
An Egyptian Coptic Catholic bishop; author, editor, lexicographer, and translator of various liturgical works. He was born at Jirja, Upper Egypt, into an Orthodox family from Tukh al-Nasara in the Delta province of Minufiyyah. When he was in his early twenties and had been converted to Roman Catholicism by Franciscan missionaries, he was sent to Rome to study at the Collegio Urbano di Propaganda Fide. This college was essentially for the training of missionaries but it also housed the missionary printing press for the Catholic church. (In 1671 the press had produced the earliest Bible printed in Arabic.)
In 1735 Tukhi obtained a doctorate in theology, thus becoming the first Egyptian to attain such a high degree. He was sent to Egypt for three years and returned to Rome, where he was appointed professor of Coptic language and church rite at the Collegio, a post that he occupied for over thirty-six years. He worked on liturgical books, in particular revising and edifying Coptic works. He was also a copyist of Arabic and Coptic manuscripts. In 1761 Pope Clement XIII consecrated Tukhi bishop in recognition of his erudition and services. He died in 1787 and was buried at the Vatican.
Tukhi always retained his innate affection for the Egyptian church. At Rome he was able to accomplish the prodigious task of editing a great number of works representing the various aspects of the Coptic liturgical heritage. The following is a selection of his most widely used publications:
pijwm nte pisom] nanavora ete nai nem pi agioc bacilioc nem pi agioc gr/gorioc pi yeologoc nem pi agioc kurilloc nem nike eu,/ eyouab (Pijom nte pishomti nanaphora ete nai nem pi agios Basilios nem pi agios Gregorios pi theologos nem pi agios Kyrillos nem nike eukhe ethouab) (Kitab al-Thalathat Quddasat ay Alladhi lil Qiddis Basiliyus, wa al-Ladhi lil Qiddis Aghrighuriyus al- Thawlughus, wa-al-Ladhi lil Qiddis Kirillus) (The Euchologion, the three liturgies of Saint Basil, Saint Gregory, and St. Cyril [Kyrillus]). Rome 1736.
pijwm nte pi’alt/rion nte dauid (Pijom nte pipsalterion nte David) (Kitab Zabur Dawud) (The Psalms of David). Rome 1744.
pijwm nte ]metrefsemsi nnimuct/rion eyu nem han jinh/bi nte ni refmwout nem han jinhoc nem pi kata meroc nabot (Pijom nte timetrefshemshi (e)nnimysterion ethouab nem han jinhebi nte ni refmootp nem han jinhos nem pi kata meros nabot) (Kitab Khidmat al-Asrar al-Muqaddasah wa-Lajaniz al-Mawta wa-al-Husat wa-al- Qatamarus al-Shahri) (Sacramental services and monthly qatamarus). Rome 1763.
pijwm nte niyeotokia nem kata taxic nte piabot ,oiak (Pijom nte nitheotokia nem kata taksis nte piabot Khoiak) (Kitab al-Theyutukiyyat wa-Tartib shahr Kiyahk) (Theotokia and Ordo for the month of Kiyahk). Rome 1764.
pijwm eferapantoktin ejen ni eu,/ eyouab pi meroc nhouit eybe nijinvws (Pijom eferapantoktin ejen ni eukhe ethouab pi meros nhouit ethbe nijinphosh) (Kitab Yashtamil ‘ala al-Salawat al-Muqaddasah, li-al Risamat al- Mukhtarin li Darajat ahl al-Iklirus) (Ordination services and consecration of the myron and churches). Rome 1761.
Ghramatiq fi al-Lisan al Qibti ay al-‘Misri (Rudimenta linguae coptae sive aegyptiacae) (Coptic-Arabic grammar). Rome, 1778.