HABIB JIRJIS (1876-1951), Coptic theologian. He was born at Azbakiyyah, Cairo, and joined the Coptic School at Harit al-Saqqayin. He was one of the earliest students enrolled in the CLERICAL COLLEGE after its inception in 1892. He graduated in 1898, became a teacher of theology at the College, and then dean in 1918.
He became an outstanding preacher and played a key role in the organization of the Sunday School movement. Until his death he acted as adviser to various patriarchs, particularly CYRIL V. He was the author of many compilations and meditations on the church service, and wrote hymns, books for children, and prayers suitable for all occasions. He founded the weekly periodical al-Karmah (1906-1923), which served as a channel for his teachings.
Because of his scholarship, his experience as archdeacon, and his long service as a member of the COMMUNITY COUNCIL, Cyril V invited Habib Jirjis to attend the Holy Synod sessions. All these factors helped to inspire his book, al-Islahat al‘Amaliyyah lil-Kanisah al-Urthudhuksiyyah (Practical Reforms in the Orthodox Church). He succeeded in introducing the study of the Christian religion to Coptic students in government schools, and wrote a two-volume manual as a teacher's guidebook. He also was instrumental in persuading Cyril V to issue a special directive to metropolitans to limit the ordination of priests in their dioceses to graduates of the Clerical College.
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