Congratulations to His Grace Bishop Dr Suriel on the release of a new text published by SAC Press and SVS Press. Some wonderful endorsements for the new book are highlighted below.
This is a groundbreaking study that adds considerable depth and complexity to our understanding of Habib Girgis's long career and the Coptic Church's educational reforms over the first half of the twentieth century. It is an engaging, nuanced examination of Girgis's aspirations, frustrations, and enduring legacy.
Maged S.A. Mikhail, Professor of History, California State University at Fullerton.
This meticulously researched and beautifully written study examines the inspiring life of Habib Girgis, who believed that everybody deserved an education and who made it his life’s work to enrich Coptic communities with learning. In the face of limited resources and considerable challenges, Habib Girgis strove to expand educational opportunities for villagers, Sunday School students, seminarians, and others. Historians of modern Egypt generally, and of Coptic Orthodox and other Egyptian Christian communities more specifically, will appreciate this study for its sensitive yet rigorous treatment of a great twentieth-century educator who, in the words of Bishop Suriel, helped Egyptians “to give meaning to their own struggles…[and] to look within to understand their lives and to think of what lay beyond.”
Heather J. Sharkey, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania.
At a time when internal and external turmoil seemed to rip the Coptic Church apart, a self-effacing teacher had the brilliant insight that educating the children was the way forward. Overcoming practical, theoretical, social, and cultural obstacles, Habib Girgis created curricula and projects that aimed at restoring the Church to its original glory. Nowadays, the Sunday schools he started are considered to be the foundation of Coptic renewal. However, up to now very little was known about Habib Girgis' life. This book presents the first comprehensive study that places his life, work, and strategies within their historical, religious, and educational context. Based on primary texts, educational curricula, Church archives, and historical sources, it presents a compelling and insightful story that is a must read for students of Coptic history and Church life.
Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Professor of Religion, Wake Forest University.