BY MARIO TONEGUZZI, CALGARY HERALD
A University of Toronto scholar will be in Calgary next week to deliver two talks about religious faith and Egypt.
Ramez Boutros, who is an expert on medieval history and the archeology of Christian Egypt, will speak Monday at St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church, 292120 Wagon Wheel Blvd., in Balzac at 7 p.m. with his topic being, The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt: Literary and Archeological Sources.
Then on Tuesday at the University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre at 12:30 p.m., Ramez will speak about Early Women’s Monasticism in Egypt.
The talks are presented by the chair of Christian thought, and chair holder Douglas Shantz, at the U of C’s department of religious studies and part of the Lebel Lectures in Christian Ethics.
Boutros says that in Coptic tradition there are claims that the Holy Family fled to Egypt before the Massacre of the Innocents in Bethlehem. The flight to Egypt is based on a short biblical reference in Matthew’s gospel, as well as on prophecies in the Old Testament.
He says that from the 6th century on, there was a trend in the Coptic Church to create a second Holy Land due to a large number of sites in Egypt containing sacred relics of the Holy Family.
His presentation will trace the evolution of the promotion of the Holy Family sites as sacred locations in Egypt in literary and archeological sources.
Boutros’s presentation on women and monasticism will look at the forms of organization of female asceticism in Egypt.
“We need more work in that field,” he says.
“I’m really talking about the early medieval period. . . . In the Coptic field, there are not very many publications about that, . . . but outside Coptic there is more research.”
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