Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury interview 2008 - Desert Fathers

Just a reminder for those who have not seen the video of my interview with Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace, London in 2008, you can view the whole interview on the main Coptic research site by clicking on the photograph of Dr. Williams

The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a long time interest in the Desert Fathers and has visited many of the Coptic monastic and church sites in Egypt - He has also written much on the subject.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Coptic Art revealed - Exhibition Cairo November 2010 - January 2011

An exhibition of Coptic art called 'Coptic Art Revealed' will open at Amir Taz Palace Cairo, commencing 28th November 2010 until January 31st 2011.

Quote from Dr. Nadja Tomoum Project Manager and Chief Curator;

"More than 200 masterpieces of Coptic art will be displayed on around 400 m2: Colourful icons painted by the famous artists Yuhanna Al Armani, Ibrahim Al Nasikh and Anastasi Al Rumi, beautiful textiles, illuminated manuscripts from the Coptic Museum’s archives, an excerpt from the famous Nag Hammadi Library, stone and wooden friezes with intriguing designs as well as splendid metal objects and pottery, among other priceless items will give expression to important facets of the Coptic culture."

More information here:

Fortunately I will be in Cairo in January so - inshallah, will visit the exhibition

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Picture of the week

I am introducing a weekly image to upload onto the Coptic blog - while I have a considerable number of photographs from my travels in Egypt and elsewhere, please feel to contact me if you think you have a suitable picture relating to Egypt and Coptic culture, that others may find of interest.

This week's image is of myself and Bishop Martyros of Cairo and his colleague at the evening dinner of the 2008 conference of the International Association of Coptic Studies in Cairo.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Alexandria Coptic Conference summing up

The Coptic conference in Alexandria, September 21st - 23rd, 'Coptic life in Egypt' which was held in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina - the Library of Alexandria, Egypt, appeared to be a great success -
Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I set up a live video conferencing link from Swansea University here in Wales, and followed all of the presentations that were filmed from the small theatre.

If you wish to look at a list of the abstracts you can download them here..

Jacques Van der vliet from Leiden gave a very good succinct introductory talk on Coptology and its importance to Egypt and the world, bringing in a diverse range of subject matter and new projects that will help to promote Coptic studies and the Coptic heritage in general.

There were a number of 'new faces' on the block so to speak, in the form of post graduates from a number of institutions who gave some interesting presentations outlining their current research - although perhaps a few lessons in public presentations/speaking may be called for as they did rather flash through the photographs and slides as if there were a fire in the theatre...having said that, the content was thorough and interesting.

A diverse range of subject areas were covered, including, architecture (both Coptic and Islamic) art, culture, history, the church, literature, language and texts.

The final keynote speech was given by Prof, Stephen Emmel, director of the Institute of Egyptology and Coptology at Muenster, Germany, and who is now in fact in Cairo for a year where has has the first chair in Coptology at the American University in Cairo.

Stephen gave an excellent talk on the future of Coptic Stidies, where areas of education, heritage and methods of dissipation of Coptic research were covered and discussed with some enthusiasm at the question and answer session.

Overall, the conference certainly birthed a few lively debates on topical issues, and helped to place the field of Coptology (Coptic studies) back on the map once more.

It is encouraging that conferences covering the field of Coptology are increasing, and possibly will help to promote many more symposiums of a more local nature, encouraging more of the younger members to present their research.

I look forward to hearing of a second conference, and inshallah, I will be attending.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Egyptian papyrus found in Irish peat bog - Coptic connections

September, 06 2010


Irish scientists have found fragments of Egyptian papyrus in the leather cover of an ancient book of psalms that was unearthed from a peat bog, Ireland's National Museum said on Monday.

The papyrus in the lining of the Egyptian-style leather cover of the 1,200-year-old manuscript, "potentially represents the first tangible connection between early Irish Christianity and the Middle Eastern Coptic Church", the Museum said.

"It is a finding that asks many questions and has confounded some of the accepted theories about the history of early Christianity in Ireland."

Raghnall O Floinn, head of collections at the Museum, said the manuscript, now known as the "Faddan More Psalter", was one of the top ten archaeological discoveries in Ireland.

It was uncovered four years ago by a man using a mechanical digger to harvest peat near Birr in County Tipperary, but analysis has only just been completed.

O Floinn told AFP the illuminated vellum manuscript encased in the leather binding dated from the eighth century but it was not known when or why it ended up in the bog where it was preserved by the chemicals in the peat.

"It appears the manuscript's leather binding came from Egypt. The question is whether the papyrus came with the cover or if it was added.

"It is possible that the imperfections in the hide may allow us to confirm the leather is Egyptian.

"We are trying to track down if there somebody who can tell us if this is possible. That is the next step."

O Floinn said the psalter is about the size of a tabloid newspaper and about 15 percent of the pages of the psalms, which are written in Latin, had survived.

The experts believe the manuscript of the psalms was produced in an Irish monastery and it was later put in the leather cover.

"The cover could have had several lives before it ended up basically as a folder for the manuscript in the bog," O Floinn said.

"It could have travelled from a library somewhere in Egypt to the Holy Land or to Constantinople or Rome and then to Ireland."

The National Museum in Dublin plans to put the psalter on public display for the first time next year