Is there an Arabic text of the “History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church” online anywhere?

The monster history of the Coptic church, which Wikipedia says is called Ta’rikh Batarikat al-Kanisah al-Misriyah,  is online in English, at least as far as 1894.  But I know that modern authors have written continuations; and I wonder whether any of these are online.

Does anyone know?

I have someone who might be interested in translating some of it into English, you see.

9 Responses to “Is there an Arabic text of the “History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church” online anywhere?”


  1. stephan huller

    I have the beginning of Pseudo-Yusab in Arabic (untranslated). I can get more too. Not what your looking for but also deserves to get translated. The work shows no locality or date of pub. We would says: Cairo, end of the 90’s. It has information not found in any other Coptic sources. This is the blurb that Adel Sidarus sent to me said about it:

    We are dealing with a very bad ed., based on one late ms. in Deir El Suryan (Mayamir 258), from which some extracts (we guess related to the time of the author, died after 1257) were in the possession of G. Graf (cf. GACL II, 370). Another copy is held in the Coptic Museum of Cairo (EG-C Hist. 517), once the property of the scholar Guirguis Filutha’us ‛Awad.

    About the pseudepigraphical question, see: Samuel Moawad, “Zur Originalität der Yūsāb von Fūwah zugeschriebenen Patriarchengeschichte”, Le Muséon, 119 (2006), 255-70.
    The vita of St Marc begins the HPA text, without any preliminaries in opposite to the traditional double HPA versions!

    As you can guess I happen to have the sections that deal with St Mark. If we can get an Arabic translator I would very much like to help fund the translation. I am especially interested in the pre-Islamic period.

  2. Roger Pearse

    There is information about this work in Google Books preview here, in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Volume 4 (1200-1350), p.487-489.

    This tells us that the work survives in a single manuscript, Ms. Wadi al-Natrun, Deir al-Suryan – Mayamir 258. There is a handwritten copy of this in the Coptic Museum, register no. 5328 (Hist. 517, formerly Hist. 841). The text has been printed (Arabic only) by Al-Suryani and Dawud as “Tarikh al-aba al-batarika”, i.e. history of the patriarchs. Info in Graf, GCAL vol. 2, p.369-371.

    The work cannot be that of the 13th century Bishop Yusab of Fuwwa, as it contains references to the Coptic Pope John XVI (1676-1718), and does not contain anything on him — a man known personally to the real Yusab of Fawwa — other than an extract from the “History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria”. No author is mentioned by the unique manuscript.

  3. John Rostom

    Roger,

    There’s a 4-part series of the Arabic edition of the “History of the Patriarchs – Attributed to Anba Sawirus Ibn Almuqaffa`, Bishop of Alashmuneen” compiled and edited by the late Bishop Samuel, Bishop of Shebeen el-Qanter (all published in 1999).

    Part 1: From Saint Mark the Apostle to Pope Yusab (52th Pope)
    Part 2: From Pope Khail II (53rd Pope) to Pope Mikhail II (68th Pope)
    Part 3: From Pope Macarius II (69th Pope) to Pope Cyril IV (112th Pope)
    Part 4: Pope Cyril Ibn Laklak III (75th Pope)

    These are found listed in the Syrian Monastery’s online bookshop and freely dowloadable as pdf files at:
    http://www.st-mary-alsourian.com/Library/books.php in the very last secton of the web page listing. They can be recognisable from the following links when you hover your mouse over the book cover:

    Part 1: …Library/Books/scanoopllk0099.pdf
    Part 2: …Library/Books/opn0011.pdf
    Part 3: …Library/Books/trfn0010.pdf
    Part 4: …Library/Books/vren0008.pdf

    Also in the same section is another book labelled “Series of the History of the Patriarchs – Part 6″ by the late Father Samuel Tawadros al-Syriani which appears to have been published much earlier (1st ed. 1977), with the 2nd edition being the one presented by the online bookshop (2nd ed. 2002) and revised by Bishop Mattaos, current Bishop and Abbot of Dair al-Sorian (Syrian Monastery).

    This book covers the History of the Patriarchs from Pope Peter VII (109th Pope) to Pope Cyril VI (116th Pope), thus a bit of an overlap with Bishop Samuel’s books. This book is the one with a colourful red cover illustrating the portraits of various Popes, and is recognisable from the following link:

    Part 6: …Library/Books/rsf0004.pdf

    I’m not sure why it was labelled “Part 6″ but it is apparent from the inside cover that calling it “Part 6″ has only been applied to this 2nd. edition.

  4. Roger Pearse

    Thank you very much for the 4 comments! Wow! This is really exciting! I’m going out to dinner tonight, so I can’t do anything until tomorrow – this from my mobile phone! -, but this is excellent news! Thank you so much for all these links. I’ve got to get these, and I need to blog about all this.

  5. Roger Pearse

    Thank you so much for these very detailed notes, and the invaluable links! This is wonderful!

    The “part 6″ book: any idea if the material in the “overlap” is the same?

    I have hyperlinked the PDF’s in your comment above, so that non-Arabists like myself can get hold of the texts.

  6. John Rostom

    You’re very welcome Roger, I’m glad to hear that the information and links are useful to you.

    Unfortunately, my Arabic reading skills are not the very best (although I’m a Coptic Orthodox Christian myself), but I’ll try to make the time to read through the overlapping literature and get back to you on that whenever I can.

  7. Roger Pearse

    Don’t take a lot of time. But if the first sentence in a couple of the sections are the same, that would be a good sign; if they are different, that would be enough to indicate that the two are different publications.

  8. Ibrahim Saweros

    In one single link, you can get everything. Kindly try this:

    http://copticforegyptians.blogspot.nl/2012/05/yassa-abd-al-masih-history-of.html

  9. Roger Pearse

    Thank you very much!



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