Abu’l Makarem online?

The NASCAS list for Arabic Christian scholars contains this interesting note:

Since we discussed the work of Abu al-Makarim (Tarikh al-kana’is wa-l-adyira) a while ago, I thought you might be interested in the following website of the Dayr al-Suryan in Egypt, where the book (4 vols.) is downloadable, together with much other useful material.


This is indeed a vast collection of books.  But … can some kind person who knows Arabic point me to the 4 volumes of Abu’l Makarem?

One useful trick — the links may be in Arabic, but if you hover over them, the links displayed at the bottom of internet explorer are in English!  This I find this link for manuscripts.

The monastery is of course Deir al-Suryani, the famous source of all those Syriac books brought to the UK in the 1840’s by Henry Tattam.  It is wonderful to find their website, and that they are still disseminating knowledge!


14 thoughts on “Abu’l Makarem online?

  1. They have an email address at the foot of
    the page – that might get you the links…

  2. Roger, if you go to the link you have provided, the books’ images appear, go to the bottom of the list, and start from the right-hand side, you will find that:

    – Books 1, 2, 3 and 4 are 4 volumes of the History of the Patriarchs. The published first volume is not included, and I don’t know why. When I was in Egypt in 2005 and Gin this year, I fetched for it, and could not find it in all Coptic bookshops. The fourth book included in this series has been extended to 1971, i.e. until the death of Cyril VI.

    – Books 15, 16, 17 and 18 are the four published parts of History of Abu’l Makarem. The second and third parts were published in English. The first part, which talks about the churches and monasteries in Misr, Cairo and Lower Egypt, and the fourth part, which talks about the churches and monasteries outside Egypt, including Spain, have never been published in English, and to my knowledge in any other non-Arabic language.

    All of the books are in PDF format. Of course the numerical order of the books from the bottom may change if the monastery adds more to the list.


  3. Um, could you tell me what the file names are? (See these by hovering over the cover image and look at the bottom left in Internet Explorer).

    I.e. Do you mean that rsf000.pdf is vol. 1 of the History of the Patriarchs, vren0008.pdf is vol. 2, trfn0010.pdf is vol.3 and opn0011.pdf is vol. 4?

    That asan0012.pdf is vol.1 of Abu’l Makarim, ren0011.pdf vol.2, ern0013.pdf is vol.3 and sg4545.pdf is vol.4?

    Sorry, but since I don’t know Arabic, this is very hard for me. I want copies of these, of course, because I might want people to translate stuff from them!

  4. The History of the Patriarchs (attributed wrongly to Severus of Ashmunin) books are:
    – opn0011.pdf: published as Vol.II (including biographies of the patriarchs 53rd to 68th).
    – trfn0010: published as Vol.III (from the 69th to the 112th patriarchs).
    – vren0008.pdf: published as Vol.IV (Biography of Cyril III).
    – rsf0004.pdf: published as Vol.VI (covers the history of the patriarchs from 1809-1971; written by Samuel Tawodros from the Coptic Monastery of the Syrians).

    Abu’l Makarim:
    – Vol.I (Lower Egypt): ern0013.pdf.
    – Vol.II (Upper Egypt): ren0011.pdf.
    – Vol.III (Asia and Europe): asan0012.pdf.

  5. There is a fourth volume of Abu’l Makarem which has been published by the Monastery of the Syrians, and it includes what others have written about churches and monasteries. It consists of the writings of Al-Shabashti, Maqrizi, Ali Pasha Mubarak, Vansleb and a French traveller. It also includes a short treatise by Jirjis Filothous Awad, a Coptic scholar in the early 20th century, who first pointed to the fact that the book (volume 1 & 2) was actually written by the Copt Abu’l Makarem and not the Armenian Abu Salih.

    This 4th volume I cannot see in the website of the Monastery of the Syrians, but I will look again.

    The numbering of the volumes of the History of the Patriarchs confuses because I think they reflect different editions. There should be three volumes, constituting the old writings up to 1927 (Cyril V).

    Samuel Tawodros of the Monastery of the Syrians has writen another volume (in the list given the number VI) in which he covered the biographies of the patriarchs from 1809 to 1971, thus using previously written biographies (from 1809 to 1927), editing them, and adding to them the new patriarchs biographies to 1971 (i.e.from the beginning of the patriarchate of John XIX in 1928 to the death of CyrilVI in 1971, who was succeeded by the present patriarch, Pope Shenouda III).

  6. It is excellent to learn that the History of the Patriarchs has been continued. How long is the “new” material? (i.e. the stuff not in English — which I think stops ca. 1890).

  7. The new material included in rsf0004.pdf [written by Samuel Tawodros from the Coptic Monastery of the Syrians and published as Vol.VI), if we exclude the part dealing with Peter VII to Cyril V (1809-1827)which is covered by the previously published volumes in both Arabic and English, covers the periods of the patriarchs John(Yo’annis) XIX (1928–1942),Macarius III (1942–1944), [vacant (1944–1946)], Joseph (Yousab)II (1946–1956), [vacant (1956–1959)], and Cyril VI (1959–1971). The first three were bishops of see before they were consecrated patriarchs, something which never happened before in the Coptic Church – a matter which created a lot of unhappiness within the community.

    Theis new material is covered by the writer in pp. 110-211; so some one hundred pages in all.

  8. Thank you very much for these details. About 100 pages, then. It would be lovely to have all this in English, but of course you know the sort of difficulties there are over copyright of the English versions of the History of the Patriarchs.

  9. Roger,

    In response to Dioscorus Boles’ previous comment above (written on Nov 10th, 2010 at 8:08 am),the 4th volume (part) of Bishop Samuel’s edition of Abu’l Makarem’s History Of Churches & Monasteries – Part 4 is now available for download from the Syrian Monastery’s online bookshop (same source) at: http://www.st-mary-alsourian.com/Library/books.php
    It is identifiable by the link: http://www.st-mary-alsourian.com/Library/Books/weewn0021.pdf in the 3rd last section of the page.

    As far as the History of the Patriarchs is concerned, the last section (which you are after in English) covering the period of the Coptic Othdodox Church’s papacy is presented in the third and final volume of “The Popes of Egypt” titled: “The Emergence of the Modern Coptic Papacy (Popes of Egypt: A History of the Coptic Church and Its Patriarchs)” by Magdi Guirguis & Nelly Van Doorn-Harder, spanning the five centuries from the arrival of the Ottomans in 1517 to the present era (incuding Pope Shenouda III, 118th Patriarch). It is available online, together with volume 1 and volume 2 from http://www.amazon.co.uk.

  10. Glad to be of help. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any English text or translation of Bishop Samuel’s edition of Abu’l Makarem’s History Of Churches & Monasteries. I doubt if this has been done yet but two of Bishop Samuel’s other publications (authored when he was still a monk) dwell on a similar subject, and I know for sure that one of these has been translated into English. The 2 books are:

    First: “Guide To Ancient Coptic Churches & Monasteries In Upper Egypt”
    Second: “Ancient Coptic Churches & Monasteries in Delta, Sinai and Cairo”.

    I only have a hard copy of the 1st publication’s English version (and an electronic pdf copy of its Arabic version) but still searching for a copy (hard or electronic)of the 2nd publication (both Arabic and perhaps English version if it exists). I doubt whether these shed any light on the content of Abu’l Makarem’s texts, since they they were authored when he was still a monk (at least the 1st publication was), whereas his 4-part series of Abu’l Makarem’s History Of Churches & Monasteries were published later on when he bacame a Bishop.

    Not sure yet, but I hope to find out soon as I continue to research and compile the works and publications of Bishop Samuel.

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