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August 1, 2012

Ragheb Moftah standing by Aziz Atya – two Coptic giants (by Laurence Moftah).

I would like to simply share this lovely photograph by Laurence Moftah, courtesy of the Library of Congress, with my readers. It was taken in the 1980s, and it shows two Giant Copts who have done, each on his own field of excellence, huge service to the Copts and humanity. The first, standing, is Ragheb Moftah and the second, sitting, is Aziz Atya.

Dr. Ragheb Moftah (1898–2001) was a Coptic musicologist and scholar of Coptic music heritage. He co-authored, with Marian Robertson and Martha Roy, the article on “Coptic Music” for the Coptic Encyclopedia.  He invited in 1927 the British Professor of music, Ernest Newlandsmith, who transcribed the entire Coptic musical Heritage 1928-1936. He was responsible in 1955 for the Music & Hymn Department at the Institute of Coptic Studies, and began recording hymns and the Church services with Mu’allem Mikhail’s voice and then published it. In 1970, he invited the scientist Margaret Toth to co-operate in achieving a transcription of St. Basil’s Mass, which Prof. Ernest Newlandsmith had started. In 1992, he offered all his works to the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., which the reader can find at the following link:

Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody
The Ragheb Moftah Collection at the Library of Congress

Professor Aziz Suryal Atiya (1898 – 1988) was a renowned Coptologist, Coptic historian and scholar and an expert in Islamic and Crusades studies. He founded the Institute of Coptic Studies in Cairo in 1950s and the Middle East Center, University of Utah, U.S.  Through his efforts, the words ‘Coptology’ and ‘Coptologist’ have been introduced into English language. He was the first author, and the editor, of The Coptic Encyclopedia, which was published by Macmillan in 1991, and has influenced Coptic studies across the world. The reader can find a link to The Coptic Encyclopedia, which has now been digitilised by the Claremont University, California, U.S., at the link below:

The Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia

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