TADRUS SHINUDAH AL-MANQABADI (1859-1932)
A newspaper editor. He was born in Asyut. When he was six years old, he was enrolled in a Coptic school, where he spent three years learning the elements of both Coptic and Arabic, as well as penmanship and arithmetic, the normal subjects of study in the native Coptic schools of the day. In 1862, Patriarch DEMETRIUS (1862-1870) visited the city of Asyut where he was able to prevail upon the rich natives, along with the support of the authorities, to establish a Coptic school. Al-Manqabadi was educated in that Coptic school.
Beginning in 1873 he held various administrative capacities in government service. In 1895 al-Manqabadi resigned his government post and moved to Cairo to start the daily paper, Misr, with which his name became associated. However, his social and economic activities extended far beyond journalism. In 1884 he had founded a society for the preservation of Coptic history (Jam‘iyyat Hifz al- Tarikh al-Qibti) in Asyut, which became responsible for reinstating the celebration of the Coptic New Year’s Day on a national basis. The society also introduced the Coptic calendar to all organs of the press, both Coptic and Muslim. On the economic front, he devised the idea of a Coptic Trading Corporation. One-tenth of the income of the new company was devoted to the purchase of land for the support of the Coptic College in Asyut.
Al-Manqabadi was a founding member of the Tawfiq Coptic Society. He was a great supporter of the COMMUNITY COUNCIL and used his newspaper as a means of strengthening its position vis- à-vis the patriarchal party, whose aim was to monopolize the administration of all religious property. In 1897 he participated in the reform of the Clerical College and the convening of the Holy Synod, after centuries of lethargy. In support of his reform programs, he started a new periodical called al-Nur to help societies and organizations serving the Coptic community.
His life ended with a false accusation of his illegitimately appropriating lands. His arrest and incarceration for a period proved without foundation. His accuser was dismissed from Egyptian justice, and the khedive granted Al-Manqabadi the title of bey as consolation and appeasement.
- Ramzi Tadrus. Al-Aqbat fi al-Qarn al-‘Ishrin, 5 vols. Cairo, 1910-1919.
MIRRIT BOUTROS GHALI