Uhanna Sheftishi


An 18th-19th-century priest and scholar. He was born in Cairo. He served as an interpreter, adjudicator for tax collection, and main recorder at the Tribunal of under the French administration following the Campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt (1798-1801). He was appointed a colonel in the Coptic legion, which General Ya‘qub had formed. He left Egypt for France after the withdrawal of the French from Egypt.

In Paris, he instructed Jean Francois Champollion (1790-1832), who succeeded in deciphering the ancient Egyptian language, the pronunciation of the Coptic , and Coptic names. He collaborated with the scholars who prepared the great work Description de l’Egypte; perhaps he was entrusted to provide “the principal passages from Arabic writers regarding the and of Egypt.” He continued his ministry in Paris, where he used to celebrate the Coptic Mass as late as 1825, when he moved to Marseilles to live among the Egyptian refugees there.