Ya‘Qub Nakhlah Rufaylah (1847-1908)

RUFAYLAH (1847-1908)

Historian. He was one of the most active Copts who participated in the reform movement initiated by Patriarch Cyril IV. He was born in and joined a Coptic where he learned English, Italian, and Coptic. He taught at the Coptic of al-Saqqayin that Patriarch Cyril IV established. He was appointed as a proofreader in the governmental press of Bulaq. Rufaylah established two schools in the city of Fayoum; one of them was for girls. He founded a number of welfare societies there.

He compiled a number of books on the teaching of Arabic to English speakers and on English to Egyptians. In one of the very first significant on the history of the Copts, “Tarikh al-Ummah al-Qibtiyah: History of the ,” which appeared in Arabic in 1899, Rufaylah exhorted intellectual Coptic laymen to preserve the surviving, unparalleled Coptic monuments, and he proposed a petition to the that they be protected, together with scattered manuscripts, in one place reserved for the purpose. His vision was fulfilled by Marcus Simaika and Yassa ‘.