[St. Pachomius Library]

Sawiros Ibn Al-Muqafah, Bishop of Al-Ushmunain [NON-CHALCEDONIAN]

X Century
Severus of al-Ushmunain worked as a government scribe before becoming a monk. A man well-versed in Coptic tradition and in Greek philosophy, Severus gained a reputation as a scholar and so was elected in 987 bishop of Ushmunain, Upper Egypt. A skilled exegete, Severus defended Coptic theology against the Muslims and the Melkites; he was active in many religious disputes. As a monk, he wrote a book about the councils, and he is best known for his History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, of which he wrote the lives from St. Mark to Philotheus (976-979). Others continued his work. Drawing on Eusebius, an earlier history of the patriarchs, and biographies, Severus refused to rely on only one manuscript of his sources. He was, in addition, among the first Coptic authors to write in Arabic.

Karen Rae Keck