HABIB GUIRGUIS AND SUNDAY SCHOOL
FR. TADROS Y. MALATY
Pope Shenouda III himself, many present bishops, priests
and deacons were teachers in Sunday School (Church Edu-
cation School). We all feel that we are indebted to the late
Habib Guirguis who was the first person to establish Sunday
Schools in Egypt.
He believed that church reform couldn't be based on attacking church leaders nor on criticizing them, but on a serious effort to educate Coptic children and youth, for they will become the active members of the church and some of them will be the future church leaders.
Habib Guirguis was admitted to the Theological School in
the day it was established, i.e. on the 29th of November
1893. He became the pioneer preacher and Coptic theologian
in the first quarter of the 20th century. He was appointed a teacher in the Theological School and then became its dean in 1918 until his death in 1951.
He wrote more than 20 books for the students of the
Theological School, and many church songs. He established
Sunday School in 1918, to compensate for the lack of
studying the Christian religion in governmental and private
schools. We mention that Markos Bey Smekeh succeeded in
obtaining a governmental decree for teaching Christianity to
the Copts in the governmental schools in 1908, but because
of the lack of teachers and because this subject "religion"
was considered an additional one, the decree was not
The High Committee of Sunday School declared its aim
which stressed creating a new general involvement in
studying the Bible and practising church life and Christian
behavior in a true Christian spirit. Sunday Schools also ar-
ranged many trips and programs for retreats in the
Sunday Schools spread all over Egypt. In 1935 we had twenty branches in Cairo, eighteen in Lower Egypt, fortyfour in Upper Egypt, and three in the Sudan.H.H. Anba Shenouda was the first bishop to be appointed, for Sunday School, and he still has the same responsibility even after being chosen as Pope of Alexandria.