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.