Abouna Matta El Meskeen (or El-Maskeen or Matthew the Poor - born Youssef Eskander in 1919) is a Coptic Orthodox monk and also the Spiritual Father of 120 monks in the Monastery of St. Macarius the Great in the Wilderness of Scetis, Egypt. He is also a renowned Orthodox theologian, and author of voluminous texts on Biblical exegesis, Ecclesiastical rites, spiritual and theological matters, and much more.
Abouna Matta is celebrated by many Copts as a reformer and a prominent figure in recent Coptic history. Alongside two others (Bishop Samuel and Bishop [Now Pope] Shenouda), Abouna Matta was a candidate for the Patriarchal throne in 1971, following the repose of Pope Kyrillos VI.
Abouna Matta was once Pope Shenouda's confessor during the 1950s. But today, there seems to be some misunderstandings between both leaders and their followers , e.g., recently in relation to the concept of theosis (see discussion at ).
Abouna Matta El Meskeen was born in Benha, elKaliobia, Egypt, in 1919. In 1944, he graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Cairo. After leading a successful life and establishing a wealthy lifestyle for himself--Eskander at the time was the owner of two pharmacies, two villas, and two cars--he renounced his material possessions in 1948, and entered the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Qualmun (roughly near Maghagha, Upper Egypt).
After living for a few years in the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Qualmun, Abouna Matta decided to move out into Wadi El Rayan in the late 1950s. There, he lived as a recluse in the spirit of the ancient Desert Fathers for twelve years. By 1960, seven other monks joined him. The community expanded to twelve by 1964. These twelve monks were sent to Wadi El Natroun in 1969. ...
Sources and further details
- Fr Matta El-Meskeen and Pope Shenouda III: Two strong-willed reformers bring Coptic Orthodoxy back to life (Christianity Today, December 3, 2001)
- The Monastery of St. Macarius
- Video interview of Fr Matta El-Meskeen
- Book: "Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way," by Father Matta El-Maskeen
- Book: "The Communion of Love," by Father Matta El-Maskeen
- Articles by Fr Matta El-Meskine Translated into English
- Fr Matta El-Meskeen (Wikipedia)