Friday, March 14, 2008

The spirit of monasticism in Upper Egypt

Al Ahram Weekly (Jill Kamil)

The recent Coptic convention at Naqada drew scholars from all over the world. The symposium, organised by the Saint Mark Foundation for Coptic Studies, took place in the church of the Archangel Michael from 6 to 11 February. Its aim was to draw attention to the rich heritage of one of the lesser-known monastic sites in Upper Egypt; to present an overview of the current state of research, conservation and restoration in the Naqada and Qus (Coptos) region; to increase general knowledge of the area; and to activate concern for conserving and preserving its Christian heritage. Bishop Beiman gave the opening address in the grand new hall of the monastery. Attending were Magdi Ayoub, the governor of Qena, who said a word about the specialised gathering being a part of a wider culture and identity which spanned the ages, along with VIPs, participants, guests, the press, and a large number of residents of Naqada and Qena anxious to witness such an important event taking place at a site which is not on the regular tourist map and, until relatively recently, not easily accessible by road. Jill Kamil was there

Entitled "Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt", this was the fourth in the series of Coptic symposia organised by Fawzi Estafanous to take place in a monastic setting. Although the smallest of the four such gatherings to date, it was lacking neither in spirit nor in the quality and diversity of the papers presented.

See the above page for the full story.

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