February Seminars on Coptic and Middle Eastern Christianity

Sent On: 
Tue, 2024-02-27
Newsletter Number: 

On February 8th, Professor Martino Diez from the Catholic University of Milan presented on his recently published translation of the first part of the Coptic historian al-Makīn Girgis Ibn al-ʿAmīd’s (c.1206-1280) universal history. This influential historical work provides an important window on how a medieval Coptic scholar at work during the early Mamlūk period conceptualized world history. The event was hosted by Bishop Ermia who leads the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Centre located within the complex of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.


(Professor Diez delivered his presentation in Arabic.)


(Professor Diez with Fr. Rafiq Greiche of the Greek Melkite (Catholic) Church and Dr. Anwar Othman, who completed her doctorate at Al-Azhar University on Islamic views of religious diversity.)


On February 23th and 24th, the annual meeting of the "Friends of the Arab-Christian Heritage" (Aṣdiqāʾ al-Turāth ʿArabī Masīḥī ) research network held its annual meeting in cooperation with the Société d’Archéologie Copte on the premises of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in the ʿAbbāsiyya district of Cairo. Built in 1911, this church is often referred to as the Būṭrusiyya because of its relationship to the family of Buṭrus Ghālī who served as prime minister of Egypt from 1908-1910.


Organized several decades ago by Fr. Samīr Khalīl Samīr, S.J. (d.1938), the 2024 conference marked the 32nd meeting for the network. The theme this year was on historical writings and included presentations, for example, on accounts of Christians in Egyptian-Ottoman historians, the development of divorce procedures in medieval Arab Christianity, and representations of the Council of Nicaea (325) in early Christian Egyptian writings. On Saturday, the network honored Fr. Athanasius Makary from the monastery of St. Macarius for his extensive efforts in writing, editing, and translating. 

 (Fr. Athanasius was recognized for his many efforts to preserve and promote the legacy of Arabic Christianity.)


These events provide useful windows on the academic and dialogue activities that routinely take place in Cairo and are attended by both Christians and Muslims. I am also glad that two of our new interns, Luca Renic from St. Joseph’s University in Beirut and Sarah Heeling from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, were able to participate.  

All the very best,


Matthew Anderson

Director - Center for Arab-West Understanding

Executive Editor - Dialogue Across Borders (Brill)


February 27th, 2024