Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody
The Ragheb Moftah Collection at the Library of Congress
Special Presentation: Timeline of Coptic Music
Created by Carolyn M. Ramzy
Moftah's work emerged during a pivotal moment in Egyptian history at the beginning of the twentieth century. Egyptians were gaining a strong sense of national consciousness and a strong desire for a self-rule that they had not seen since the fall of the last Ancient Egyptian monarchy in 671 B.C. This nationalist fervor penetrated all aspects of their lives, including religious institutions such as the Coptic Orthodox Church.
This Timeline contextualizes these larger historical, political, and social developments in Egypt, leading up to Moftah's project and his generous donation of his work to the Library of Congress. Also, the Timeline outlines other significant moments of Coptic music studies as a growing discipline, when early missionaries, explorers, and scholars first took note of Coptic liturgical chant. Though this Timeline certainly does not include a comprehensive listing of every person who has ever mentioned Coptic music in his or her work, it certainly highlights the historical and cultural framework that prompted and shaped their research.
The Timeline is divided into four parts:
- Part 1 - 3100BC (Ancient Egyptian history) - 1517 (Syria...Ottoman rule)
- Part 2 - 1643 (Kircher) - 1859/69 (Suez built)
- Part 3 - 1874 (Pope Cyril V, Fétis, Batanūnī's birth) - 1922 (Independence, Carter)
- Part 4 - 1925 (Moftah and Newlandsmith) - present