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Friday, October 29, 2010

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.


  1. just wondering Sayedna...at this point, is it too late to change topics--to one that's maybe a bit simpler??? ; )
    Good Luck with all the reading (I really hope your grace really likes reading). I'll be praying for you.

  2. Hi Rolla,
    Thanks so much. I do need your prayers. It does sound complicated, but I think that I will learn so much from the process. I am willing to do the hard work. I think once I understand better the process, thing will start falling into place. God bless you.

  3. You're great Sayedna and I'm excited to continue following this blog of you journey.

    David Naam

  4. Thanks very much David, I really appreciate it. God bless you

  5. Aghapi Sayedna! I did not realize you can read Arabic... H.H. Pope Shenouda refers to Habib Jirjis as the light when god said "Let there be light" in Genesis... Archdeacon Habib Jirjis reform of the Church and Sunday School deserves shedding the light on it... Sayedna, the church needs to tackle the huge task of translating all the heritage books from Arabic... Pray for me!


  6. Thanks very much Peter. Yes I am aware of His Holiness' words on Habib Jirjis and I begin one of my chapters with these beautiful words. And yes I can read and translate Arabic very well. I studied one year of Arabic also at University. Your prayers please.

  7. Hello Sayedna!

    You are the only person for this kind of task! Your love of reading and your eye for detail is extraordinary! I think this thesis was sent to you Your Grace. You will do an outstanding job, as you do with everything. We are praying for you and are looking forward to following the journey, all that you learn in your readings and learning about Habib Jirgis, and all that he did for Christian education. Please pray for us! Marianne Sourial

  8. Thanks very much Marianne, you are too kind. I pray that I can continue, it seems like the work of a few years to do this properly. We shall see how we go. Keep praying for my weakness. Thanks.

  9. I had a boss who told me, it is easier to write a long letter rather than a short concise one. Your grace is right when you said it is a process to learn how to read all the information and write only the key word. May god grand your Grace the patience, the knowledge and the understanding needed to complete your thesis successfully. Amin.

  10. Thanks very much Marie. Much appreciated.

  11. Hi Saydna

    It's wonderful to read about your PhD topic. I am one of your youth in Melbourne, and I am curently doing a PhD myself, but in Law. Your enthusiasm about your topic has inspired me to continue with my studies, despite how difficult it is. Your are a great example of success.
    We miss you very much and can't wait to see you back home.
    In christ, Engi

  12. Hi Engi,
    I am so happy that you are doing your PhD. That is great news. Please keep me updated. Are you just starting, or you are nearly finished? It is lovely to see our youth successful. Well, done and I hope that you will invite me to your graduation. It will be my honor to attend such a joyful event. I know it seems like a mountain of work, but if you work at it in small chunks it gets done. God bless.

  13. If there is anyone that can complete this PhD Sayedna it is YOU!! Keep working hard and updating us!

    Your Son,

    Mina Soryal