St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society

The Second St. Shenouda Coptic Symposium Registration Form

July 22, 2000 @ UCLA Campus, Los Angeles California 90024

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UCLA Royce Hall Room 314
405 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles, CA


Schedule: The following tentative schedule has been made by the Organizing Committee:

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00-9:30 a.m. Opening Statements
9:30-10:00 a.m. Ramses Wassif, Origins of Hesychasm in Coptic Monasticism
10:00-10:30 a.m. Deacon Severus S. A. Mikhail, To be announced
10:30-10:45 a.m. Break
10:45-11:15 a.m. Dr. Claudia Rapp, Monasticism, Prayer, and Penance in Late Antiquity
11:15-11:45 a.m. Bishop Serapion, Contemporary Coptic Monasticism
11:45-12:45 p.m. Lunch Break
12:45-1:15 p.m. Rev. Dr. Tim Vivian, Daniel of Scetis
1:15-1:45 p.m. Dr. Saad Michael Saad and Nardine M. Saad, The Church Tradition of Electing Monks to Episcopal and Patriarchal Ministries
1:45-2:45 p.m. Prof. Boulos Ayad Ayad, Comparative study of Jewish Monasteries of Qumran and the Coptic Monasteries of Egypt
2:45-3:00 p.m. Break
3:00-3:30 p.m. Dr. Youhanna Nessim Youssef, The Glorification of the Martyrs in the Coptic Church - The Example of Saint Menas
3:30-4:00 p.m. Hany N. Takla, Liturgical Cycle of St. Michael Monastery at Hamouli (Al-Fayoum).
4:00-5:00 p.m. [Organizer] Dr. Saad Michael Saad, Panel Discussion: Coptic Culture in a Pluralistic Society



Title: Comparative study of Jewish Monasteries of Qumran and the Coptic Monasteries of Egypt

Presenter: Prof. Boulos Ayad Ayad, (Boulder, Colorado)


The Israelites built only one monastery in their homeland which was deserted shortly before the year 70 AD. The monks never returned to it again; it has never again been inhabited. However, in 1947, after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid-twentieth century, this ancient monastery became famous. Later, in the fourth century AD, the Coptic Christians of Egypt started building their own monasteries, and they have been building them ever since. This paper will discuss the similarities and differences between the two types of monasteries in the following areas:

A. The buildings: the histories, the locations, the towers, the aqueducts and the importance of water, the baptisteries, the assembly hall, the library, the scriptorium and other religious building, the sleeping quarters, the kitchen, the food, the kiln, the space for keeping animals.

B. The daily life of monks: the monks and the process of acceptance into the monasteries, the responsibilities of the monks outside their monasteries, the prayers, the ceremonies, the baptism, the "group" supper, the Bible, the rituals, the laws of the monastery and the conduct of the monks, the rewards and the punishments, the manuscripts and the languages, the sects and the head of the monks.


Title: Monasticism, Prayer, and Penance in Late Antiquity

Presenter: Dr. Claudia Rapp (UCLA)


The importance of Egypt as the cradle of the monastic movement in the fourth century AD is universally recognized, and the story of the growth of eremitic and cenobitic monasticism has been charted in numerous works of scholarship. In this paper, I wish to propose some new thoughts on the impetus of monastic spirituality and the social relations this may have generated. I am particularly interested in the practice of intercessory prayer.

The prayer of holy men was highly valued by their followers. The exchange of prayers between a holy man, his monastic associates and the lay people with whom he was in contact resulted in social ties that were expressed in kinship terms and can be conceptualized as concentric circles. The holy man at the center of a prayer community is surrounded by his ‘brothers’, while his ‘sons’ and ‘daughters’ form the outer circle. This is the picture that emerges, as I have shown in a recent article, from the correspondence of holy men that survives on papyri and ostraka from the fourth and fifth centuries.

This paper will explore these ideas further and investigate the relations between a holy man and his ‘brothers’. The purpose of the intercessory prayer of holy men is sometimes stated as ‘relieving the burden (of sins)’. Indeed, some holy men offered to bear part of the burden of sins of their close associates. In this manner, they were doing vicarious penance on behalf of their ‘brothers’. Tim Vivian has recently drawn attention to the importance of metanoia (repentance) in the monastic spirituality of Upper Egypt. My paper hopes to contribute a further facet to our understanding of the central role of this concept in the religious and social experience of Egyptian monasticism.


Title: The Church Tradition of Electing Monks to Episcopal and Patriarchal Ministries

Presenter: Dr. Saad Michael Saad and Nardine M. Saad (Los Angeles, CA)


The favored or required qualifications of candidates to the episcopal and patriarchal seats in the Coptic Orthodox Church evolved over twenty centuries. Based on apostolic tradition (1Tim 3:1-7), the early church required from her episcopal candidates a record of ministry, sacrifice, piety, and teaching. Gradually, celibacy gained preference because of the high demands of the episcopal ministry. From the fifth century, candidates from monastic orders became predominantly favored because monasteries developed into cradles of pious, learned, self-denying, committed, and dedicated servants. Candidates from non-monastic ranks, however, were occasionally elected to both the episcopal and patriarchal offices. New bylaws, decreed in 1958, limited the eligibility for the patriarchal seat to candidates from monastic orders. This paper will discuss the theological, historical and organizational dynamics that influenced these developments.


Title: Panel Discussion: Coptic Culture in a Pluralistic Society

Organizer: Dr. Saad Michael Saad (Los Angeles, CA)


Coptic monasticism, theology, art, music, architecture, and medicine are among many fields in which the Copts have made significant contributions to world civilization. This panel session will discuss major aspects of Coptic culture and their relevance in the pluralistic societies in Egypt and the United States today. Among important questions to be addressed: why it is necessary and beneficial to promote positive interaction between Coptic and others cultures, how this can be achieved and what are the challenges facing such interactions.


Title: Liturgical Cycle of St. Michael Monastery at Hamouli (Al-Fayoum)

Presenter: Hany N. Takla (Los Angeles, CA)


Early this century, a large collection of Coptic manuscripts were offered for sale in Europe. The asking price for the whole lot was expensive enough that only J. P. Morgan (with the advice of Fr. H. Hyvernat) was able to acquire them for his famous Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. This collection represented the largest monastic library of complete volumes ever found in Egypt. It was the surviving library of St. Michael (the Archangel) monastery in Hamouli (Al-Fayoum province). This contributed greatly to our understanding of local monastic traditions in the vast landscape of Coptic Egypt.

Among the contents is a vellum manuscript, M573, of an Annual Lectionary for movable and immovable feasts and commemorations. The dialect of the manuscript, Sahidic, and its early date, 822-23 AD, makes it very unique. What adds to its importance is that it details for us the type of commemorations that were celebrated by the monks in that region at around that period of time.

In this paper, the commemorations included in the manuscript will be discussed and compared against the existing liturgical cycle, found in the Coptic Church now. Also these commemorations will be contrasted to the other liturgical and literary contents of the library.


Title: Daniel of Scetis

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Tim Vivian (Bakersfield)


Abba Daniel of Scetis is a relatively unknown but interesting figure from the sixth century. A dozen or so tales about or sayings attributed to Abba Daniel survive in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic; in addition, an editor or editors gathered much of this material and, with substantial additions, fashioned a Vita or Life of Daniel, which exists in Coptic and Ethiopic. Editions of much of this material were published at the turn of the 20th century, with a Portuguese translation of the Ethiopic Life, and there is a recent translation of the Syriac material, but the Greek and Coptic have not been translated and the Arabic manuscript, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, has not been edited.

I am endeavoring to collect all of the relevant sources on Daniel and, with the help of other scholars, plan to publish a translation of the entire corpus. In this paper I will present a preliminary report on the Daniel material and offer an introduction to this desert father of Scetis.


Title: The Glorification of the Martyrs in the Coptic Church - The Example of Saint Menas

Presenter: Dr. Youhanna Nessim Youssef (Melbourne, Australia)


Saint Menas is commemorated in several churches in the World. His martyrdom is preserved in Greek; Latin; Ethiopian, Armenian; Syrian and Arabic languages.

In Coptic tradition, we have Sahidic Coptic manuscripts from the collection of Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, La Bilbliothèque Nationale de Paris and the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in addition of several Arabic manuscripts. Unfortunately we do not have any Bohairic text, which could be a first hand data.

In Coptic tradition, we may consider the hymns provided by a Coptic doxology and a Psali as unique.

In fact, the Book of Glorifications contains a Doxology Adam in honour of Saint Menas that is the summary of a lost Bohairic text.

The same event is commemorated in a Psali from a Coptic Manuscript from Saint Macarius Monastery and dated in XII century.

The comparison between theses three texts shows the development of the Miracle legend of Saint Menas.


Glorification of Saint Menas

Sahidic Text



marvelous wonder, which happened in the sea (by) saint

Saint Menas the strong martyr, had been carried on the ships to take him to Egypt.

When they were in lid-sea.



It happened that when they arrived to the mid-sea,

Menas of Mariout when great

animals appeared

Great animals appeared. They were very fearful in their appearance

there came out of the sea fearsome beast with

necks raised aloft and faces like those of camels

And they stretched their long necks onto the

to swallow the ship where your body where carried on it

they wish to swallow the ships and those who were on board

ship, wishing to take the remains of the saint

and also the lives of the men on board.

Whenever these beasts, as was their wont, raised

Fire came from his relics

their necks, fire came from the holy Apa Menas

you make the sea ceased and the animals sank

and burnt their faces, they sank

remains and darted in their faces and they sank

beneath the waves.

They arrived to the Harbour and the Name of Lord had been

The saint Menas had been taken to Mariotes and they built to

...And the report spread abroad in the whole

glorified by you

him a Church in this place. They assembled in it, making his feast three times a year

country of Mariotes...And so they built over the

tomb a small oratory like a tetrapylon

This comparison is very useful for many reasons which will be discussed in the paper