The CCHP facilitated archival donations of personal and institutional records to the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries. Egypt Migrations maintains these holdings and welcomes new donors. Please read this Fact sheet to learn more about the Clara Tomas Archives’ donation policies. Contact us with any questions.

Now Available in Special Collections:

Sami I. Boulos, The history of the early Coptic community in the U.S.A. (1955-1970), New Jersey: ND, 2006.

Sami Boulos arrived first in the United States as a visiting student in 1955, and then returned as a doctoral candidate in 1957. After completing his degree in New York, he secured a teaching position at the State University of New York. One of the earliest Egyptian immigrants to the United States, Dr. Sami Boulos was one of the founders of the Coptic Association of America (1963 – 1971) and is today a prolific author and generous mentor.

In March 2005, a dozen Coptic immigrants who had initially settled in the New York/New Jersey area (but now some living across multiple states) met in Dr. Maher Kamel’s home in New Jersey to record their memories and to supply documents regarding the formation of the Coptic Association of America. This book is the result of that project. It documents the oral, textual, and biographic history of those initial immigrants; who gathered in New York, formed the Association, and met in search of social and spiritual community in a new environment. Dr. Boulos’ book also includes a wealth of scanned primary documents, which make up approximately the last third of the volume.

Shawky F. Karas, The Copts since the Arab Invasion : Strangers in their Land, Jersey City: American, Canadian, and Australian Coptic Associations, 1986.

Shawky Karas arrived with his family as a graduate student in New Jersey in the late 1950s. Dr. Karas is remembered as the “father” of Coptic activism in the diaspora. He founded the American Coptic Association (1974 – ), remained its president after he later became professor and director of research in behavioral sciences at Southern Connecticut State College, New Haven, and has inspired and encouraged like-minded organizations in Canada and Australia. Dr. Karas passed away in 2003.

His book is a seminal text on Coptic activism, that is regularly cited. It is vital to our understanding of escalating discrimination and marginalization of Coptic populations in Egypt since the 1970s, and serves as a collection of biographical and primary materials documenting the activism of Coptic émigrés (Aqbat al-Mahjar).

Coptologia : studia coptica orthodoxa : a research publication in Coptic Orthodox studies = Gyptologia : epchisbō enremenkīmi enorthodoxos, (volumes 1-19), Toronto, St. Mark’s Coptic Canadian Cultural Centre, 1981-2003.

Fayek M. Ishak, Inquiry into the Essence of Soul Revelations : the Elevation to the Pinnacle of the Illumined Heights, Toronto: Coptologia Spiritual Publications, 1993.

Fayek Matta Ishak, A Check-list of my Classified Publications and Research Works Undertaken upon Neglected Areas of the Coptic Heritage, Toronto: Coptologia Bibliographical Publications, 2005.

Fayek Matta Ishak, The Coptic Holy Icon: thikōn èthouab nremnkheimi, Toronto: Coptologia Theological Publications, 2006.

Fayek M. Ishak was an Egyptian Canadian Coptologist and scholar (1922-2006). Professor Ishak arrived in Canada to teach English Literature at Notre Dame University in Nelson, British Columbia (1966-1967) and then took a permanent position at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario (1971-1987). He authored and published the first English translation of the Liturgy of St. Basil (4th century) in North America; a copy of which is accessible at Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

Professor Ishak was the founder and editor-in-chief of Coptologia, a journal of Coptic thought and spirituality. Coptologia contains numerous articles on Coptic theology, heritage, monastic life, immigration, and includes contributions from renowned Coptologists such as Aziz Atiya, Otto Meinardus and Iris el-Masri. His family has generously donated the entire collection of Coptologia (1981-2006) and select publications on Coptic life and spirituality.

Now Available in Archival Collections:

Collection F0733 – Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP) collection

0.32 m of textual records
77 photographs: b&w and col.; 24x30.3cm or smaller
1 architectural drawing; 49x60.5cm
1 cross
Further accruals are expected


Father Marcos A. Marcos was born in Sohag, Upper Egypt as Wagdi Elias Abdel Massieh. After studying in the United States from 1958 – 1962, he returned to Cairo to teach at the Clerical College. He was ordained as Father Marcos on August 9th, 1964 as the first priest for Coptic émigrés in North America. Father Marcos and his wife Susan arrived in Toronto in November 1964 and for Toronto’s Coptic immigrants, Father Marcos remains their “flying priest.”

With the support of Father Marcos, his family, and friends, the Coptic Canadian History Project has facilitated the donation of a collection of photographs, letters, and publications which are currently available at the Clara Thomas Archives. This material documents the history of the first Coptic Orthodox priest to serve in North America.

Helene Moussa currently serves as the Volunteer Curator at the Coptic Museum of Canada (formerly St. Mark’s Coptic Museum), Scarborough, ON. A sociologist, Helene Moussa taught at the American University in Cairo  (1955-1957), was the Dean of the School of Social Work in Haile Selassie I University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1958-1967), and lectured at York University, the University of Toronto, and the Centre for Christian Studies (1971-1988). She also served as the Executive Secretary for Uprooted People in the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Islands for the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland (1994–1998).

Helene Moussa has generously donated a single storage file box (15x12x10″) containing her collection of various magazines and newsletters that document the parish history of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Scarborough, ON. This is the first Coptic church built (not rented or bought) in North America. Textual and photographic materials are currently available at the Clara Thomas Archives.

New Donations in Processing!