The Emergence of the Modern Coptic PapacyThe Popes of Egypt: A History of the Coptic Church and Its Patriarchs, Volume 3

The Emergence of the Modern Coptic PapacyThe Popes of Egypt: A History of the Coptic Church and Its Patriarchs, Volume 3

Magdi Guirguis and Nelly van Doorn-Harder

Print publication date: 2012

ISBN: 9789774161032

Publisher: American University in Cairo Press

Abstract

This third and final volume of The Popes of Egypt spans the five centuries from the arrival of the Ottomans in 1517 to the present era. Hardly any scholarly work has been written about the Copts during the Ottoman period. Using court, financial, and building records, as well as archives from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and monasteries, this book reconstructs the authority of the popes and the organization of the Coptic community during this time. The chapters reveal that the popes held complete authority over their flock at the beginning of the Ottoman rule, deciding over questions ranging from marriage and concubines to civil disputes. As the fortunes of Coptic notables rose, they gradually took over the pope's role, and it was not until the time of Muhammad Ali that the popes regained their former authority. In the second part of the book, the chapters analyze how with the dawning of the modern era in the nineteenth century, the leadership style of the Coptic popes necessarily changed drastically. They address also the political, religious, and cultural issues faced by the patriarchs while leading the Coptic community into the twenty-first century.