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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.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Fascinating Journey Into the Patriarchal Archives

The team who assisted me throughout my journey into the Patriarchal Archives.

Hello again,

Yes, it has been a while since I have been active on my blog. I will try and be more active in this field.

I propose to do two things:

1. To offer a daily short spiritual message that I will also post on Twitter.

2. To occasionally update you on my research on Archdeacon Habib Jirjis as I know that some of you are interested to know more about him and his work.

I will begin today with something that I am very excited about and that is the Patriarchal Archives in Cairo.

When I was in Cairo at the end of last year I spent a few short hours at the Patriarchal archives. I was searching for any possible material on Habib Jirjis or on education etc. I found a few files with some documents that I digitised. I did not hold much hope that there is any more beneficial material there and left disappointed. During this trip to Egypt I asked myself, "does it make sense that there is no more information in the archives on Habib Jirjis?" I set myself the task of discovering if there is anything more substantial on this subject. 

I am very grateful to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III who gave me access to the archives and I am indebted to him for his support and spiritual guidance. I am also thankful to His Grace Bishop Youannes for facilitating the process of such an access.

From my previous visit I had seen hand written bound minutes and decrees of The Lay Millet Council (Majlis Milli). I knew that Habib Jirjis was a member of this council for several terms and that it is inevitable that issues on Coptic education would have been discussed. These bound minutes and decrees were organised into annual volumes. I thought to myself if there is useful information in these volumes and nothing else it would be useful to copy them. I did not hold hope of finding anything else.

So, I set out the first morning with a dear friend Ezzat Bushra who is a professional translator and headed for the archives. We went through the volumes and chose those that are relevant to digitise. The next morning I organised with a photographer to digitise those volumes. It was going to be a few days of work. On the third day we were nearly finished with the digitisation of those volumes and yet something inside me was telling me, "Could this be it? Habib Jirjis who seemed to me to be so organised did not leave anything else about his work for future generations to study? There must be more, this could not be all that is in this huge archives." 

So, we asked the question again, "What do these archives consist of? What else can be found here?" Then the archivist said, "Oh there is a section here on schools." It was at that moment that I could not believe what was just said. I responded by saying, "Did you just say schools???" He replied, "Yes, here is a section concerning schools." At that point in a very humble way, I felt like Howard Carter when he discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen. A rush of excitement and joy overcame me as I felt I am about to discover a wealth of material that would be pertinent to my dissertation. Were these files of any use? Did these boxes really have any relevant material? What was actually in these boxes that had not been opened for over sixty years? Stay tuned for the next blog in which I will discuss my findings.

I would love to hear any feedback from you.

God bless.

Hurricane Irene

"5 The LORD is your keeper;
         The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
 6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
         Nor the moon by night. 
 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
         He shall preserve your soul.
 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
         From this time forth, and even forevermore." (Psalm 121:5-8)

Hello everyone,

I hope that those on the East Coast of the USA are safe after Hurricane Irene. I am currently in New Jersey and this has been certainly a difficult week. On Tuesday I was at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY when the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit. I did not feel it at all, and thank God that damage was at a minimum. Then last night and this morning and throughout all of Sunday we have been hit with Hurricane Irene. It was a very restless night not knowing when the eye of the hurricane will hit exactly. Everyone was nervously waiting and praying that it will pass without too much damage.

There has been flooding in many areas and over 11 deaths and over 3 million people left without power. The mass transit system was shut down in New York on Saturday as well as the airports. Thousands of flights were cancelled and there will be a huge backlog of people trying to board flights starting tomorrow. Even the Holland Tunnel was flooded and shut down.

Thanks be to the Lord Who is indeed our Keeper and protector at all times. Thanks to the Lord that I was able to keep safe at the Archdiocese in New Jersey. Stay safe and may the Lord protect you always.