Coptic monastic revival – Matta al-Maskeen

I’d very much like to know more about the astonishing revival of monasticism that has taken place among the Copts in modern Egypt.  A central figure is the mysterious Fr. Matta al-Maskeen (various spellings seem to be around).

Quite by chance I’ve stumbled across a digest of translated newspaper articles on him here.  Sadly you have to be a subscriber to access the articles, but the summaries alone are interesting.  The site itself says that

We publish Arab-West Report, an independent weekly electronic magazine. It is dedicated to fostering understanding of the Arab World. We do this partly through summary translations of Arabic newspaper articles into English…

Guys… you’ll foster understanding better if you make it possible for people other than specialists to read the articles!  You need free content, really you do. Make the current year and last year subscription only, and let everyone read before then.

Back to Fr. Matta.  I think there may be a book or two about this renewal by John H. Watson, but I haven’t seen any of them.

The search in Google on “matta al-maskeen monks” brings back such interesting results.  I find there is a Coptic forum here, where the merits (and otherwise) of Fr. Matta are hotly debated.


2 thoughts on “Coptic monastic revival – Matta al-Maskeen

  1. You will find that Father Matta Almaskeen (Mathew the Poor) is a controversial figure in the Coptic Church for political and theological reasons. I am not versed in his theological standpoints, and I am not sure how different they are from the traditional position; however, Copts looked at him with disdain when he allegedly supported the late president Sadat in 1981 when Sadat tried to dethrone Pope Shenouda III, and confined him to a monastery in Wadi Natrun.

    Recently, a PhD thesis was discussed in Cairo University (I think) which compares the theology of Matta Almaskeen to that of Thomas Aquinas’.

    Dioscorus Boles

  2. You can find some books on his life and books written by him by visiting the website of the Monastery of St Macarius (Dair Anba Makar) in Egypt. Here is a link:

    You will find in the right hand side panel: Books translated into English. Unfortunately they are not available on the internet.

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