‘IRYAN JIRJIS MUFTAH (d. 1888), Coptic language specialist. He was appointed teacher of Coptic in the newly established Coptic College founded by the father of Coptic reform, CYRIL IV (1854-1861), who aimed at modernizing the Coptic church. ‘Iryan is known to have written manuals and grammar books for teaching the Coptic language in a reformed modern style. This probably occurred under the influence of the ecumenical spirit of his superior, Cyril IV, who aimed at bringing the Greek and Coptic churches closer together.
It is known that ‘Iryan, as he was called, departed from the old Bohairic system in the church offices and tried to introduce the rules of modern Greek pronunciation into the antiquated style of the traditional church. This found opposition amid the clergy of Upper Egypt who clung to the old Bohairic, now wrongly described as Sahidic. Through ‘Iryan's influence and his teaching of the Coptic tongue on the modern Greek model, his system spread rapidly in Lower Egypt and the metropolitan cities of Cairo and Alexandria.
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