St. Shenouda Coptic Newsletter

Volume 1, No. 1 October 1994

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St. Shenouda's Writings (By Ashraf Hanna)

Introduction: The following text is a translation from an Arabic sermon read during lent in the Coptic Church. The Arabic text comes from a microfilm of the Paris Ms P. Arabe 4761 (CML 1592)

Text: ...There was a man that had 3 friends, then came a messenger from the king to call upon him. And when he asked this man to go with him to meet the King, the man became baffled and confused, and said to the messenger, "I have a very dear friend whom I love very much, to an extent I cannot describe, let me go to him and ask him to come with me, because I am frightened and scared from my presence in front of the King without anyone at my side." So this man went to his friend and asked and begged him to come along, but the friend answered, "You will not get any help from me, and I will not go with you, not even for one step." The man was shocked and told his friend, "You unfaithful friend, how can you betray me like this, I who loved you and was very keen on calling you, I who suffered the heat of the summer, the cold of the winter, the travel in the seas, and climbing the mountains to get you, and after all that, you are useless to me when I needed you the most." So when the man was rejected by his first friend, which is the money and wealth, he went to seek his second friend, his beloved family and relatives...(to be continued).

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A Manuscript Colophon (By Hany N. Takla)

Church History in a Biblical Manuscript:

The Coptic Museum in Cairo has a unique 14th century Copto-Arabic manuscript in parallel columns of the Pauline and Catholic Epistles, and the Acts. Its uniqueness is not in its contents but rather in three interesting 17th century colophones. A colophon is an inscription at the end of a manuscript. Those colophones are written in Arabic. They contain historical information of great importance to those interested in Coptic History. The manuscript is available in microfiche format at the Coptic Center under the Number CML 1216F. The translation of these colophones are as follows:

  1. Anba Yuannis al-Tukhi, the 103rd patriarch, was consecrated on Sunday, 9 Baramouda, 1392 A.M. (1676 A.D.)
  2. In 1394 A.M. (1677-8), the inflation (or famine) was great.
  3. In the same year: it was proclaimed that two bells would be hung on the neck of the Christians and a (single) bell on the neck of the Jews when entering the (public) baths, and that each one of the Jews and the Christians (must) dye their turbans, and not wear garments made from felt (or goukh) or wool. It was also stated that no one of the Moslems (shall) walk bare-footed or enter a mosque except (wearing) wooden-clogs (or Qubqab), and everyone who hears the call to prayer and does not enter the mosque for prayer would be punished. It was also proclaimed that women would not wear veils, and Christian women are not to wear white clothes. And the clothing of the Christian shall be, in general, black.

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Coptic Language/Lives of the Saints (By Members of the Advanced Coptic Seminar)

Introduction: The following excerpt is taken from "The Martyrdom of St. Anoub", which was written in the tenth century. In this excerpt, St. Anoub's parents had recently passed away, and after having attended a sermon, the saint decided to leave his home town and journey south to the governor.

From the Coptic Martyrdom of St. Anoub (Abanoub)

Translation: Thus he distributed all that which existed to him to the poor ones and the weak ones of his town. And he rose, namely Apanoub (and) he came out of the door of his house (and) he spread forth his hands (and) turned his face toward the side of the east. He said, "O my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is living, in the manner which I have left the door of my house, I have followed you with all my heart. You shall guide me to the way of the Hegomen. You shall send to me your luminous angel in order that he stand up with me and strengthen me, to make me victorious over the tortures of the court of justice. O my Lord Jesus Christ, you shall send to me Michael the Archangel in order that he guide me to the place of the Hegomen and to give me the mouth of the speech to make me speak of your righteous things before the kings and the hegomens. For Thine is the glory with Your Good Father and the Holy Spirit for ever Amen."

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Coptic Manuscript Library (By John Rizk)

This is a collective effort to gather and preserve on microfilm the written sources of our heritage for the purpose of promoting its study as well as those works that have dealt with it. So far the collection generated by the project includes over 182,000 microfilm frames of Coptic, Coptic-Arabic, and Arabic manuscripts. Its contents came from the libraries and museums of Egypt, Europe, and the U.S., such as the Cairo Coptic Museum, the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Austrian National Library, the National Library of Paris, the British Library, the Oxford Bodleian Library, the John Rylands Library of Manchester, the Pierpoint Morgan Library of New York, and the Michigan University Library.

The manuscripts include: Biblical (Old & New Testament), Liturgical, Hagiographical (Lives of the Saints), Literary (Writings of the Fathers), Canon Law, History, and Coptic legal texts.

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Coptic Library (By John Rizk)

The Society since its inception has worked on gathering a library of all books and scholarly articles that deal with the various aspects of Coptic Studies; such as, Bible, Language, Patristics, History, Liturgy, Hagiography (Life of the Saints), and Art & Architecture. Included in the Library are most of the published catalogs of Coptic & Christian Arabic Manuscripts, as well as many doctoral dissertations done in the field of Coptic Studies. The Library holdings are currently over 1,200 volumes plus periodicals, and articles. The oldest book in the possession of the Library is the 1828 edition of the Psalms in Boharic Coptic and Arabic printed in London for the purpose of helping the Coptic Church, which was still using manuscripts at the time.

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Computerization of Primary Sources (By John Rizk)

For more than 10 years, the Society has sought the aid of computers in preserving Coptic texts as well as translation of primary text sources dealing with our heritage. Our current Database includes the majority of Coptic Biblical texts in existence, as well as many hagiographic, patristic, and liturgical texts. The assistance of many members of our community is sought in order that we reach our objective of making every text that is part of the Coptic heritage available in such form to those who need it. The Society inputs all the text on IBM-based systems. Currently, the Center is digitizing architectural designs from the Monastery of St. Shenouda, and inputting Biblical and other texts into the computer as well.

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Coptic Art (By John Rizk)

The following design is found in one of the niches in the Monastery of St. Shenouda. It is one of the many that were scanned and preserved by the Coptic Center. (Akermann, Philippe, Le Décor Sculpté du Couvent Blanc)

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Visitors (By John Rizk)

Approximately 50 people visited the Center during the Open House on December 4, 1993. Since then, the Center was visited by many notable people such as Dr. Nancy Thomas of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dr. Jerry Pattengale of Azuza Pacific University, Dr. Scott Carroll of the Center for Christian Antiquities (the Scriptorium in Michigan), and Mr. Scott Pierre, also of the Scriptorium. The Coptic Center was also visited by the following bishops and priests:

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Schedule of Classes (Hany N. Takla)

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You are Visitor number to Newsletter V.1-1 page since March 18, 1996

Prepared by Hany N. Takla. Last Update 3/18/96

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