St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society

Society Progress 1995-6

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The Coptic Center has been in operation now in its current location for nearly three years. Efforts to expand the facilities have not been successful due to financial restraints but we are still hopeful. Since its opening, many visitors have passed through its doors. Its visitors came from all over the United States, Canada, and Egypt. Most notable among the visitors were Dr. Donald Spanel of the Brooklyn Museum, Dr. Harvey Staal of Michigan, and Dr. Gawdat Gabra of the Coptic Museum. Everyone interested to sample or dig deep in our dearest possession, our Coptic Heritage, is welcome to come. The hours when visitors are welcome are weekdays from 6-9 p.m. and any time during the weekends. Because of staff limitation, we urge you to call ahead before coming so we can be ready. The telephone number is (310) 558-3973 or (310) 271-8329, or fax your message on (310) 5581863. The street address is 1494 So. Robertson Blvd., Suite 204, LA, CA 90035.

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The Society's monumental work in publishing the treasures that the Coptic Heritage possesses, has continued. We have expanded the scope that this series will cover to include literature written in Arabic for use in the Coptic Church such as Patristic, Hagiographic, and Liturgical texts. This would increase the number of volumes planned by over 50%. The work is concentrated now on the Biblical section, the life of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, and the Martyrdom of St. John of Phanidjoit. A preliminary report was published in commemoration of the Center's Open House on December 4, 1993, copies are still available to be ordered.

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a. The Nagi Khalil Coptic Software Center (NKCSC): A few years ago, a center to produce and distribute IBM computer software to promote the Coptic Heritage, was introduced. It was named after our energetic vice-president of the late 80's, Mr. Nagi Khalil, who fulfilled his mission on earth several years ago and is helping us with his prayers before the throne of the Almighty. His pioneering and bold attitude was symbolic of what we were trying to do.

During the past year, we added a third title to our Software list, the Coptic New Testament Viewer (NKCSC-CB1). This work includes the entire Coptic version of the New Testament in Bohairic and Sahidic Coptic as well as parallel copies of the King James English Version and the Greek Version. It is arranged in two modules, Bohairic/English & Sahidic/Greek. For those intereseted in only one of these modules, two separate versions were produced. Their order number are -CB1a for Bohairic/English, and -CB1b for Sahidic/Greek. This program allows to choose any New Testament Book by book and chapter for on-screen reading or hard-copy printing. There is not at this time any search engine included. The Coptic text, Bohairic and Sahidic, was inputted from several published sources, but modified orthographically for the sake of standardizing the text and making it more intelligible to those with non-academic Coptic knowledge. The Software works under Windows 3.1 or 3.11.

With the advent of Windows 95 Operating System, we made some modifications to all the programs that we have realeased so far. The order number for that is distinguished by the addition of the letter "M" at the end of the number, e.g. -CB1M.

The Annual Lectionary (Bohairic-English) will be released soon. This includes all the readings in the Coptic Church for any day of the year except Sundays, Lent, Pascha, and Paschaltide. Other editions of the New Testament with search capabilities and variant reading will be forthcoming. Also the first volume of the Coptic Old Testament Viewer is in preparation. This will include the first 5 books in Bohairic with a parallel English translation of the Septuagint. Projects for producing slide presentations of the Coptic Monuments, CD on St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, and others are currently under study.

b. Image Digitizing: This past year, we experimented with digitizing microfilm images of some of the manuscripts being works on. We used a special photo-video imager that convert the film into a video signal. Such signal is then digitized and stored on an IBM PC with the aid of a peripheral called Snappy. The generated image is enhanced using a graphics enhancing software. This system can also be used to digitize images from fragile material that can not be placed on regular flat-bed scanners. The images will eventually be stored on CD's for archival. The size of our micrfilm and slides collection will keep us busy for a long time to come.

c. Global Access (Internet): This year we succeeded in esablishing a solid presence on the internet. We reserved a domain name "STSHENOUDA.COM", and secured an adequate space to publish several documents about the Coptic Language, St. Shenouda, Coptic Studies, our Coptic Newsletters, and many other documents to promote the Coptic Heritage and its study. Our Address now is: HTTP://WWW.STSHENOUDA.COM. We hope, God's willing, to be able to connect our own server. This will greatly expand the scope of material that we can present.

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During the past year the library grew to nearly 1,400 volumes of material in the different branches of Coptic Studies. We expanded the library in nearly every section of its more than 14 different sections. We are continuing the expansion and the development of the library to contain all the necessary references required by those who want to learn and/or to research the Coptic Heritage. The most notable additions, including items on order, were as follows:

a. Coptic Art/Architecture/Inscriptions: ---, Ägypten-Schätze aus dem Wüstensand Kunst und Kulture der Christen am Nil; Baer, Ayyubid Metal Work w/Christian Images; Doxiadis, The Mysteries Fayoum Portraits - Faces from Ancient Egypt; Leiden Univ., Essays on Coptic Art vol.1 &2; Parkinson/Quirke, Papyrus; Bp. Samuel, Ancient Churches and Monasteries in Lower Egypt, Cairo, and Sinai; Thompson, Coptic Textiles - Brooklyn Museum; Thomas, the American Discovery of Ancient Egypt; Van Moorsel, Catalogue Gen. du Musee Copte - The Icon.

b. Coptic Bible, Old & New: Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translation of the New Testament; Comfort, The Origin of the Bible; Hans, Parsing Guide to the New Testament; Porcher, Le Livre de Job.

c. Catalogs of Manuscripts & Bibliographies: Orlandi's 1995 Coptic Bibliography.

d. Coptic Festschrifts and conference proceedings: Fluck/Langener, Divitiae Aegypti - Koptologische und verwandte Studien zu Ehren von Martin Krause.

e. Canon Law and Legal Texts: Perier, Les Canons des Apotres; Coquin, les Canons d'Hippolyte,

f. Coptic History and Geography: Arnold, The early Episcopal Career of Athanasius of Alexandria; Evetts, History of the Patriarchs, 4 vol; Malaty, The School of Alexandria book1. Before Origen; Lev, State and Society in Fatimid Egypt; Moreh,, Al-Gabarti's Chronicle of the First Seven Months of the French Occupation of Egypt; Partrick, Traditional Egyptian Christianity-History of the Coptic Church; Sarkissian, The Council of Chalcedon and the Armenian Church; Timm, Das Christlich-Koptisch Ägypten in Arabischer Zeit 6 vol.

g. Coptic Hagiography: Bell, Mena of Nikiou- the Life of Isaac of Alex...; Butler, Lives of the Saints (4 vol); Godron, Textes Relatifs a S.Claude d'Antioch; Porcher, Vie d'Isaac; and several volumes of lives of the saints in Arabic.

h. Coptic Language: Liddle & Scott, Greek English Lexicon 9th ed. Unabridged; Youssef, Dictionary of the Coptic Language (Arabic-English); and several Coptic Language teaching books, printed in Egypt.

i. Coptic Liturgy: ---, The Holy Psalmodia (Coptic-English); Basset, Le Synaxaire Arabe Jacobite. Redaction Copte (6 vol); Burmester, Lecctionaire de la Semaine Sainte v.1; Fr. Hanna, the Book of the Ordination and Consecration..

j. Coptic Literature/Patristics: Hamell, Handbook of Patrology; McGuckin, St. Cyril of Alex. on the Unity of Christ; Welch, Christology and Eucharist in the Early Thought of Cyril of Alex.; Samir, Christian Apologetics during the Abbasid Period; Chebli, Refutation d'Eutychius par Severe Eveque d'Ashmounain.

k. Coptic Monasticism: Barnard, The Monastic Letters of St. Athanasius the Great; Rubenson, The Letters of St. Antony - Monasticism and the Making of a Saint.

l. Coptic Theology: Burgess, The Holy Spirit - Ancient Christian Tradition; Burgess, The Holy Spirit - Eastern Christian Tradition; McGuckin, St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy; Morenz, Egyptian Religion; Samir, Al-Safi ben Al-Assal sur le Trinite et l'Incarnation; Shafer, Religion in Ancient Egypt; Tsirpanlis, Intro. to Eastern Patristic Thought & Orthodox Theology.

m. Coptic Apocrypha/Gnosticism: P. Labib, Coptic Gnostic Papyri in the Coptic Museum at Old Cairo.

m. Periodicals: The most recent volumes of the Bulletin of Coptologia and Le Monde Copte.

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I. Manuscripts: The greatest asset of the Society has been its Microfilm library, or more accurately its Microform library. It was formed as early as 1980 and has expanded ever since. It has grown to over 202,000 frames. The only limiting factors for developing this collection further are financial constraints (limited funds, and low dollar value) and resistance of some libraries to recognize the legitimacy of our requests!

This past year we elected not to have any new purchases. Meanwhile we started to utilize the collection more and more in the research projects that we are working on. We are planning during the upcoming year to acquire more Literary and Liturgical Christian Arabic manuscripts from several libraries in Europe along with some Coptic ones.

II. Research Material: The Society this year added several more titles to its mammoth collection of microfiche of research material in the field of Coptic Studies. This additions were mainly part of the Society's SSCMC project for microfilming Coptic Studies printed material. The SSCMC collection has more than 2,000 microfiche. Many of these will be available for purchase by scholars and interested individuals. They can be ordered through our Internet site.

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The Advanced Coptic Seminar, meeting on Sunday evenings, is continuing to work on a 10th century Homily of St. Theodosius of Alexandria on the Virgin Mary. A second session for translating Sahidic Apophthgamata Patrum Texts is also continuing. The Manuscripts workshop is continuing, slowly but surely. The Society's president, Hany Takla, is currently teaching the 2nd year Coptic Course in Pope Shenouda III Theological Seminary in Los Angeles. An Intermediate Coptic Seminar is currently being conducted at the Center on Saturday evenings.

No progress has been done on the Comprehensive Coptic Studies Curriculum, that was announced earlier. However, the plans are still there to implement this 3-year program in the future. This will include about 21 courses with 30-hours of instructions each. It will cover all aspects of Coptic Studies that are necessary for the Preservation and Revival of the Coptic Heritage. The level of instructions will be at Upper Division to Graduate University Level. Instructions will emphasize Manuscript research and methodology. A fee will be charged for these classes.

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a. Newsletter: The Coptic Center staff continued to publish the quarterly newsletter which is bringing out some of the work being done using the resources available at the Center. Four issues of volume two were published and mailed to our members and others interested individuals throughout the world.

b. Annual Bulletin: Volume 2, came out earlier this year. It included a collection of 4 articles by our members. It was sent to all dues-paying members as part of their membership. All others interested in sampling this work, will be able to do so at a nominal fee.

c. Traditional Egyptian Christianity: Rev Dr. Theodore Hall Partrick of North Carolina has written a book on the History of the Coptic Orthodox Church, called Traditional Egyptian Christianity. This book was a culmination of 10 years of reseach on the subject. A project fueled by the author's deep admiration of the Coptic Church. We reviewed a draft manuscript of this work two years ago. As a result, we put up the necessay funds to print the book and have it available at a reasonable price. This made us the prime distributor of the book worldwide as we received about 85% of the quantity printed. The book came out in mid June of this year and only few hundred copies of the original 2100+ copies are remaining. The book's popularity stems from its excellent historical treatment of the subject, its brevity, and superb style. It was a worthwile investment for the Society of such a book that further the interest in the study of the History of the Coptic Church.

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The cooperation with the Scriptorium in the field of Coptic Studies continued. During the 1996 excavation season, Mr. Maged S. Mikhail, a research assistant at the Coptic Center, participated as a student as well as a member of the excavation team. The yield from the site was tremendous and much was uncovered. Some of the discoveries were the ancient monastery church, an ancient altar, wall paintings, gold coins, and a lot more. We were kept informed through a weekly-updated Internet program. Such ambitious project was not without great deal of difficulties. It is the Society's sincere hope that the work will continue to uncover this great treasure of Coptic Monasticism.

Drs. Bastiaan Van Eldern, Scott Carroll, and Jerry Pattengale, gave a very informative presentation at St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church in Santa Monica, CA on October 28, at 8 p.m. This dealt with the Scriptorium's collection of Christian Manuscripts and Artifacts as well as the excavation work in Egypt. It was accompanied by an impressive display of Coptic and other biblical manuscripts and rare books. May God's work prosper now and forever.

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Prepared by Hany N. Takla 10/3/96

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