Melbourne and Affiliated Regions in Australia, will take place at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary on Saturday, April 22, at 1:00 p.m. His Grace will be offering a presentation on the life and
work of Habib Girgis, a Coptic Egyptian who dedicated himself to advancing religious and theological education. The volume is the second publication in SVS Press’s Coptic Studies Series, and His
Grace’s presentation will include a photo exhibition of images taken from the book.The book describes Girgis’ six-decade-long career as an educator, reformer, dean of a theological college, and pioneer of the Sunday School Movement in Egypt over the first half of the twentieth century, and it includes his own publications as well as a cache of newly discovered, previously unpublished texts from the Coptic Orthodox Archives in Cairo. The volume sets in context Girgis’ work in the midst of the identity crisis and deep social vulnerability that Coptic Christians had been experiencing in their homeland since the mid-nineteenth century. It traces his agenda for educational reform for all age groups in the Coptic Church, as well as his work among the villagers of Upper Egypt. And, it meticulously details his struggle to implement his vision of a Coptic identity, forged through education and in the face of a hostile milieu.
Heather J. Sharkey, associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, wrote in her review of the book: “This meticulously researched and beautifully written study examines the inspiring life of Habib Girgis…. Historians of modern Egypt generally, and of Coptic Orthodox and other Egyptian Christian communities more specifically, will appreciate this study for its
sensitive yet rigorous treatment of a great twentieth-century educator who, in the words of Bishop Suriel, helped Egyptians ‘to give meaning to their own struggles… [and] to look within to understand their lives and to think of what lay beyond.’”
Bishop Suriel holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University. He is the Dean of St. Athanasius College in Melbourne, Australia, as well as Senior Lecturer in Religious Education, Pastoral Ministry, and Coptic History at that school. His grace also is the translator of The Life of Repentance and Purity, by Pope Shenouda III, the first volume of the Coptic Studies Series, which was a joint project with the St
Athanasius College Press.