"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Real Pope

The pope of Rome's use of that title is generally agreed to be later than the pope of Alexandria--though neither, of course, exactly has a copyright on the word "father," which is what it means. The pope-patriarch of Alexandria, who traces his apostolic lineage to St. Mark, lives in vastly different--which is to say vastly worse--conditions today than his Roman brother. A new book, set for release next month, looks at their history: Sawirus al-Mugaffa, History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria: The Copts of Egypt Before and After the Islamic Conquests (I.B. Tauris, 2013), 692pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
A History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria is a unique series of biographies of the Coptic patriarchs from the earliest, St Mark, to the tenth century. Many of the accounts are in fact older Greek and Coptic works translated into Arabic and edited by Sawirus, who sought out the originals from the monasteries of the day. The events recorded include the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the overthrow of the last Umayad ruler Marwan II, Arab-Christian relations, and histories of the various countries. Often based upon eyewitness accounts by contemporary authors, they provide an essential source for the religious, economic and social life of Egypt in the early Islamic period. Unavailable even in many libraries, this edition contains both the Arabic text and the English translation of B. Evetts, together with an Introduction by leading contemporary scholar Hugh Kennedy.

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