History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria

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This work presents the history of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria. The first half of the Arabic text known as the Ta'rikh Batarikat al-Kanisah al-Misriyah (transliterated Arabic) was edited and translated into English by B. Evetts under the title History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria. The work is originally a compilation by Severus (Sawirus) ibn al-Mukaffa`, who was Bishop of al-Ashmunein in upper Egypt, between al-Minya and Assiut, around the end of the tenth century. The early portions of the text are derived mainly from Eusebius and Coptic tradition. But from the 6th century onwards, the biographies grow longer and often seem to derive from documents written by eyewitnesses of the events recorded. The Islamic conquest of Egypt is recorded (see Part 2 below), and a vivid eyewitness account included of the overthrow of the last Ummayad Caliph, Marwan II (744–750 A.D.). Sawirus also relates the famous miracle of moving the Mokattam Mountain during the ruling of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Muizz around 975 A.D. (as an eyewitness of that period). The complete text has since then been expanded with appendices and continuations running up to the end of the 19th century, but Evetts stopped with the 52nd Patriarch, Joseph, who died in 849 A.D.

Evetts' text is freely available online from The Tertullian Project:

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