Welcome to my humble blog!

Hello everyone.

I wish to welcome you and thank you for visiting my blog.

I hope you enjoy your visit and that you get a chance to respond to any of the posts.

I hope you have a wonderful day. God bless you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

St. Anthony's College - Melbourne

St. Anthony's Coptic Orthodox College in Frankston North is a vibrant growing school. They are currently in the process of adding four new classrooms besides other amenities to the current facilities. We are lucky to have two Coptic Schools in Melbourne to serve our Coptic families and to give excellent education to our students. Also to care for their spirituality and to assist them to maintain their Coptic identity in a multicultural society.

I urge the people of the diocese to fully support this school. This current project has also received a generous grant from the Australian government for which we are grateful. However this grant fell far short of the cost of the building and the school is in need of fundraising about $200, 000 in the next few weeks. If you can assist this school and invest in the future of our church through helping these students receive the education they deserve, I would most appreciate it.

May God bless you all and may you continue to prosper in all your endeavours.

St. Mary College New Building - Melbourne

These are pictures of the new $5 million Language Centre and Science labs at St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox College in Melbourne, Australia. This building will be officially opened next week. We thank the Australian government for their kind grant of $4.5 million which made this vital project possible. I wish to congratulate Fr Tadros Sharobeam for his vision for the school which celebrated its 20th anniversary since its opening in 1991 with 50 students. The school currently has about 630 students and has well advanced to be the best Coptic School with the most resources and facilities and excellent staff. Congratulations to all those involved and also to all the parents who support the school and to all the students who I am sure will benefit from this great new facility. It makes me very proud as an educator and as the bishop of the Diocese of Melbourne and someone who believes in pursuing excellence in education and spiritual life, to see the school to continue to grow in this way.

Earthquake in Christchurch, NZ

Hello again,

As many of you may know that on September 4, 2010 New Zealand suffered a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4. It caused much damage to the city of Christchurch and surrounding areas. The quake caused at least NZ $4 billion in damages and more than 500 buildings have been condemned.

It is unfortunate that St. Mary & St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church is one of those buildings that has been officially condemned by the authorities and will need to be demolished. As you can see from the photos above that the damage was extensive.

This has left our Coptic congregation there in a very dire and difficult situation. The insurance policy will  not cover the rebuilding of the church. It may not even cover 10 to 15% of the cost of rebuilding the church and hall and amenities. The church may need to find land elsewhere which will be an extra burden on the small congregation of about 70 families.

If there is anyone out there that can assist financially in any way to help this congregation to rebuild their church and to be able to worship again it will be very much appreciated. God bless you all.

Please pray for Fr Sourial Youssef the parish priest, his family and for all the congregation of Christchurch, NZ

Update On My Doctoral Work

Good afternoon everyone,

It has been an interesting week with respect to my research. There has been a setback in my work, but I think it is for the better. One of the scholars reading my work has given me invaluable feedback on my Qualifying Paper and on how to proceed forward.

I need to read all of Habib Jirjis' corpus of writing chronologically in order to plot out the major ideas Habib Jirjis focused on. Also it will provide me with a relative chronology for when Jirjis was occupied with and adressed specific issues over his long career. It will also enable me to identify thematic passages.

This requires taking extensive notes on Habib Jirjis' writings. This is a very large project. Habib Jirjis wrote over thirty books, many articles and was the editor in chief of The Vine Journal which he published monthly for seventeen years and wrote many of its articles.

Then there is secondary sources that speak about Habib Jirjis that need to be read and extensive notes to be taken on them. But this is not the end, for there is also important tertiary sources that speak about a variety of subjects including, education in Egypt, in the Church, the political situation in Egypt, the history of the Church at the time, the work of the foreign missionaries and its effect on the Copts and much more.

So you see, this is not a normal thesis in my opinion, but requires much research and digging to find relevant material including rare Egyptian newspapers that may have written about Habib Jirjis or that he may have written articles in such newspapers or may even contain articles on Education in Egypt.

I have found that the more you read, the more you discover. As my professors have also told me, do not aim for perfection and you can fall into the trap of writing too much. So, I need to learn the skills of how to trim what is not necessary for this study, and what can be added later in future articles or even books.

So, now I feel the mountain has tripled in size at least with the task that is ahead of me. I believe that Habib Jirjis has not been given his rightful position within Egyptian history and is hardly mentioned in books and studies about the Middle East. It is high time for a proper academic study of this outstanding figure to be commenced and completed.

I do need many prayers to begin and complete this mammoth task.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meeting With H.H. Pope Shenouda III

Prior to departing Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday October, 27 2010 I had the blessing of meeting His Holiness Pope Shenouda III. His Holiness is in good health and in good spirits as usual. It was a joyful opportunity to see my father, whom I love very much. I was able to take this quick photo before I left, I apologise for the poor quality of the photo. May the Lord Jesus Christ preserve the life of our holy father and return him safely to our beloved Egypt. God bless you all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

H.H. Pope Shenouda III in Cleveland

Good evening dear brethren,

I am currently in Cleveland, OH where I have had the great blessing to spend a joyful time with my dear father, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III. His Holiness arrived here on Sunday evening for his regular health check-up. He is very well and has brought so much joy to all of us who have had the honor of meeting him.

I met His Holiness on Sunday night, and he greeted me with great joy and love. The first issue he asked about was my progress in the PhD dissertation. He then asked about the ministry in North America.

Every time that I meet with His Holiness it is sufficient for me to see his pure and holy face and his beautiful smile, and to hear his blessed words that are full of wisdom.

Once some monks visited St. Anthony the Great and one of them kept silent and when St. Anthony inquired about his silence the monk replied, "It is enough to see you my father." Truly, seeing His Holiness brings me so much peace and comfort and I feel that our Holy Coptic Orthodox Church is safe in his pure hands. I feel we are all being protected by the prayers that he offers on behalf of each and every one of us no matter our position. He is the ideal of the good shepherd who knows his flock and tends to their needs.

May the Lord Jesus Christ preserve the life of our honoured father His Holiness Pope Shenouda III for many blessed years to come. We love you Sayedna and we ask for your prayers always.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Visiting St. Mark Church - Washington D.C.

This weekend (22-24 October, 2010) I will be visiting St. Mark Church in Washington D.C. This is a very active church with many pastoral and mission activities. It is served by three young and energetic priests. This church also has a Coptic school that recently were awarded $500, 000 by Kohl's Stores. It is a great achievement and reflects the hard work of the clergy and strong congregation.

I look forward to receive many blessings this weekend and enjoy a spiritual time among the clergy, youth, servants and congregation.

I was searching for a rare book written by Yusuf Manqarius in 1913. Manqarius was the former dean of the  Seminary in Cairo before Habib Jirjis. After exhausting all avenues, I finally located the book in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Very Reverend Fr. Bishoy Andrawes was kind enough to assist me to receive a digital copy of the book which I needed for my research. The book is valuable since it discusses the history of the Coptic nation from 1893 to 1912 in much detail and includes many important documents and memorandums.

Thank you so much Fr Bishoy for your valuable assistance.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dissertation Mentoring Seminar

This afternoon I will attend my monthly dissertation mentoring seminar. This includes all of the doctoral candidates who have completed their coursework and are working on their dissertations. It is led by one of the professors in the Religious Education School.

Each student gives an update of their progress, other students may ask questions about a particular research. Also, two students give a more in depth report of a particular aspect of their work.

The professor also gives very important insights and information about various aspects and pitfalls of writing a dissertation. The seminar is 2 hours in length.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fordham University - New York

Here are some photos of Fordham University in the Bronx, New York where I am currently studying.

Oxford Patristics Conference 2011

Good morning,

Well, it's starting to cool down in New York and the leaves on the trees are changing to amazingly beautiful colors and are beginning to fall as we head to winter. Well, as many of you know that I prefer the cooler weather. The snow? Well, that's another issue, I guess its fun at first but once you have experienced it for a while it can become very cumbersome.

Anyway, that is not the reason for this post. I wanted to make you aware of an excellent conference coming up in August next year at Oxford University in the U.K. This is the Oxford Patristics Conference that is held every four years. Yes, pretty much like the Olympics. In fact I like to call it the "Olympics of Patristics." It is attended by over 700 Patristic scholars coming from all over the world and presenting hundreds of scholarly papers on all aspects of patristics. It also includes a section on Coptic studies and patristics.

It is unfortunate that very few Coptic scholars attend this very important conference. I do hope that more will be encouraged to participate and attend. I have had the privilege of attending the last two conferences in 2003 and 2007 and look forward to 2011 God willing.

For further information and on how to present a short communication please visit:


The photos above were taken in 2007 at the last conference. Hope to see some of you there. Have a great day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Beloved and Great Pope: His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

I had the privilege and the honor of taking this photo with His Holiness Pope Shenouda III last year and wanted to share it with you. It is a time when we all need to lift up our hearts in prayer. To pray for our beloved holy father and for our Mother church and for all Copts in Egypt. To pray that peace and love may prevail among all Egyptian citizens. The Lord has promised that the gates of hades shall not prevail against His Church.

St. George and St Anthony Church in Ottawa, Canada

On Sunday October 3, 2010 I celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. George and St. Anthony Coptic Orthodox Church in Ottawa, ON in Canada.

It is a beautifully designed Coptic Church as can be seen from the photos above.

Liturgy Next Sunday

I will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy next Sunday October 17, 2010 at St. Mary and St. George Church in Albany, New York. The parish priest of that church is Fr. Demetrius Mansour. The time to travel from Cedar Grove, NJ to Albany, NY is about two and a half hours. The Offertory will begin at 9 a.m.

Doctoral Work Update

Hello Everyone!

Well, I have just stumbled over the world of blogging and thought I would give it a try.

Although there are no current followers to this blog, I hope some people will join it soon.

I am currently working towards completing my doctoral dissertation at Fordham University in New York.

This doctoral work is being conducted in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. The topic I have chosen concerns a great figure of the first half of the twentieth century in the life of the Coptic Orthodox Church: Archdeacon Habib Jirjis.

It is a long process with many stages. I have completed my coursework and my Qualifying Paper. The Qualifying Paper has been reviewed by my supervising professor and has today been sent to the two readers for their approval.

I have also completed my Thesis Proposal and it has also been reviewed by my supervisor and has been sent to my editor before it goes back to the supervisor and then to the readers. So you can see that each section or chapter goes through a lengthy process before approval is granted.

I am now currently working on chapter four of the thesis that will speak about Archdeacon Habib Jirjis' reform philosophy.

In my next blog I will tell you more about Habib Jirjis and about my thesis.

Thanks for reading and I would love to receive your comments.