Shukrallah Jirjis (Mu‘Allim)

SHUKRALLAH JIRJIS (Mu‘allim) A Coptic contemporary of the French Expedition to Egypt and a close friend and colleague of General YA‘QUB. Though the particulars of his early life are unknown, we must assume that he was born in the first half of the eighteenth century. During French rule in Egypt, he is known to have […]

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Shamm Al-Nasim

SHAMM AL-NASIM Literally, “sniffing the breeze.” It signifies the rising of the Egyptian people, Coptic as well as Muslim, at dawn to go to fields and gardens to inhale the pure air of the first day of spring, when the new vegetation is green and the Nile flood starts swelling. This is one of the […]

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Covenant Of ‘Umar

COVENANT OF ‘UMAR Ascribed to the second Orthodox caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644), and regarded as a document of primary importance in regulating the relations between the Muslim conquerors of the Middle East and their Dhimmi subjects, that is, the Jews and the Christians, including the Coptic nation in Egypt. The situation of the Copts […]

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Coptic Musicologists

Coptic Musicologists Borsai, Ilona (1925-1982) After graduating from the University of Kolozsvar, in her native city of Cluj, Rumania, qualified to teach Greek and French languages, Ilona Borsai attended the Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, where she received the Diploma of Music Education. Completing further studies in the field of musicology under Bence Szalolcsi, […]

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Cantors Of The Coptic Music

Cantors, Their Role and Musical Training Because members of the clergy were not equally talented as singers, it became and has remained the tradition to entrust performance of the music to a professional cantor (Arabic: ‘arif, “one who knows,” or mu‘allim, “teacher”), who is employed and trained by the church to be responsible for the […]

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Somers Clarke (1841-1926)

SOMERS CLARKE (1841-1926) An English architect and archaeologist. He was born in Brighton and received his training in church restoration in the office of Sir Gilbert Scott. In 1922 he retired to Egypt, where he lived until his death. There he worked with J. E. QUIBELL and Frederick W. Green in the excavations at Hierakonpolis, […]

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Al-Suqa‘I Fadl Allah Ibn Fakhr

AL-SUQA‘I FADL ALLAH IBN FAKHR A thirteenth-century historian and biographer, a Christian resident of the city of Damascus. He was a scribe in the diwan (government office). He died a centenarian in 1326. In Christian literature, he was noted for his compilation of the four Gospels in a unified work in numerous languages including Hebrew, […]

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Catechetical School Of Alexandria

CATECHETICAL SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA The first and foremost institution of theological learning in Christian antiquity. Though we first hear of it as an established school in the Historia ecclesiastica of Eusebius, around the year 180, its roots must be traced much further back. Its rise to prominence from humble beginnings must therefore have been a […]

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Sawirus Ibn Al-Muqaffa‘

SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUQAFFA‘ Earliest great Coptic writer in the Arabic language. Sawirus was born early in the tenth century to a pious family that provided him with a thorough Christian education. His dates of birth and death are not known with precision, but his life must have covered most of the tenth century. His name […]

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