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, November 19, 2010

Back in NJ

Greetings everyone from a cold New Jersey.

I have just arrived back yesterday to New Jersey where we are at the end of the Fall season and about to hit winter. I was surprised that it was not too cold upon my arrival, I expected colder weather.

The plane ride on Lufthansa was very pleasant from Cairo to Frankfurt and on Continental from Frankfurt to New Jersey. I had an exit seat on the second flight in economy with extra leg room which helped immensely.

The trip to Egypt was very fruitful and I met several new people with so much talent and scholarship that were eager to assist with my research into this interesting part of our modern Coptic history. I was able to gain access to the Patriarchal archives and I found one file pertaining to Habib Jirjis that has some interesting documents. I still need to read through them all and decipher some of the hand writing. One interesting letter I found was the letter of appointment of Habib Jirjis as dean of the Seminary written by Pope Cyril V. On a future trip to Cairo I will need to do more work in the archives. I hope that one day all of this material can be digitized for the benefit of future generations and for much needed research.

Since I had my American University student card I was allowed access to the library. I enjoyed immensely my visit to the new AUC Library and to the University in general. It was wonderful to see in Egypt a University of this standard built with a cost of $1.7 billion USD. At the AUC library I found some useful material and I was deeply impressed by their rare book collection. I was able to see some rare documents from the Erian Moftah collection donated to the library by his grand daughter Ms. Laurence Moftah. Ms. Moftah was kind enough to arrange for a digital copy of this collection to be prepared for me. I believe that in this collection there is a notebook of the lessons that Erian Moftah wrote during his learning at the Coptic Schools of the nineteenth century along with several hand written books in Coptic.

So, now I am back in New Jersey hoping to defend my Thesis Proposal in the next few weeks. Once this is completed, then I will be able to begin a long two year journey of reading and writing to complete this important and yet difficult task of writing my dissertation. I think it is an important journey of discovery that I am really looking forward on embarking upon.

I do encourage many others to study and know the rich history, theology and spirituality of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt.

Talk to you soon. God bless and thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Greetings From Cairo

Greetings to you all from sunny Cairo.

It has been a very interesting and fruitful trip to Cairo so far. I have had the opportunity to meet with our beloved father and shepherd, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III. His Holiness is very well and in good health. The Holy Synod Seminar was this morning, attended by 84 metropolitans and bishops.

I have also had the opportunity to visit the new campus of the American University in Cairo (AUC). There I found useful books for my research in their bookshop as well as many resources in their excellent new library.

I was able to meet with some scholars that were very helpful in assisting me in gathering more important resources for my research. Sometimes it feels like writing a PhD thesis is somewhat like an archeologist digging for treasures deep under the earth and not sure what he may find next. It is exciting work and yet very time consuming.

I will be heading back to New York to the cold winter weather in a few short days. I thank the Lord for this blessing of visiting Egypt once again and also seeing many of our blessed members of the Holy Synod and learning from their wisdom.

God bless you all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Congratulatory Message

Re: The Official Opening of the New Science and Language Centre 
at St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox College

Dear distinguished guests, Fr. Tadros Sharobeam, staff, students and parents of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox College,

It gives me immense pleasure to congratulate all of you on this new milestone in Coptic education in Australia! This new $5 million state-of-the-art Science and Language Centre will serve to further advance excellence in education at the College. I also send to you the greetings of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III who has always believed in the importance of such school projects and speaks very highly of the Coptic Schools in Melbourne. May the Lord preserve his life for us and grant him the best of health to continue to shepherd his flock all around the globe.

We are deeply indebted to the Federal government for there generous grants, a total of $4.67 million. For, without these grants this project would not have been possible. Hence, the students of this school would have been greatly disadvantaged without this new building. Without this building and resources, our students would not have had the same opportunity as students in other schools to excel in these key-learning areas of science and literacy.

In the book of Proverbs it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) This is what I see being the aim of having Coptic Schools in Australia. It is about educating for life. Educating children in how to excel in their academic studies and to be fine citizens of this great nation Australia. And at the same time teaching them the core values of their Christian Orthodox faith as well as teaching students how to integrate and have an important role in the Australian society.

I am sorry that I was not able to be with you on this important occasion and to celebrate with you. As some of you are aware that I am in the USA for a while working on my PhD in Religious Education. The title of my dissertation is “Habib Jirjis, Orthodox Educator: A Light in the Darkness.” Habib Jirjis gave great importance to religious education and to reform in the Coptic Orthodox Church in the first half of the twentieth century. He said “Education is the first need for the community after bread”[1] This is how strongly Habib Jirjis felt about the importance of education in the life of each individual. I am sure if Archdeacon Habib Jirjis was alive today and could see this College and this new Science and Language Centre he would be very proud and he would feel that his vision for reform and the advancement of Coptic education is coming to fruition thousands of miles away from Egypt, in Melbourne, Australia.

I have seen photos of the new building and they are magnificent and are a great testament to the great work of the founder and director of the school, Very Rev. Fr. Tadros Sharobeam. I am sure that today is a happy day for him and for all of the excellent staff working with him to see the College progress in such a fine way. I wish to also thank the parents who have supported the school over many years and believed and shared in our vision. I wish to thank our wonderful students, for without you we would not have a school. I wish every success to the VCE students in their exams and wait to hear good news about their success.

I pray that soon I may see you all again in order to congratulate you personally on this very fine achievement not only for the College but for all of the Diocese of Melbourne.

I hope the weather in Melbourne is warming up as you will soon enjoy summer and your vacations, and as I prepare for winter and lots of snow and sub zero temperatures.

May our Holy Mother Saint Mary continue to bless the College and each one of you. I also ask for your prayers on my behalf. Be absolved through the Holy Spirit.

Bishop of Melbourne
4 November, 2010

[1] Jirjis, Habib. 1942. The Practical Means Towards Coptic Reform: Hopes and Dreams. 1st ed. Cairo: Self-Published.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please Pray For Egypt's Copts

As many of you have read the sad news coming from Iraq and the massacre of more than 50 Christians inside a Catholic Church. There has also been a threat targeting the Copts of Egypt by Al Qaeda.

Please pray for our dear brothers and sisters in Egypt and for the Church, may the Lord protect them from all evil and suffering.

Please read the following article in The National Review Online which sums up very well what has been happening since the beginning of this year.

God bless you all.