CAIRO – 11 August 2022: Egyptian museums contain millions of rare artifacts from various ancient Egyptian eras. Each piece narrates a story that is thousands of years old.
Today, ET sheds light on the Book of Psalms, which dates back to the fourth/ fifth century AD. It is the oldest complete copy of the Book of Psalms and was found under the mummy of a child in a tomb from the early Christian period in Beni Suef.
The book of Psalms is displayed in Egypt’s Coptic Museum.
The Coptic Museum is one of the oldest and most important Egyptian museums. It houses the largest and most important collection of Coptic artifacts in the world, with about 16,000 pieces.
The museum was inaugurated in 1910 by Morcos Samika Pasha, who is considered one of the prominent Christian figures in Egypt. Samika was interested in preserving the Coptic heritage.
The construction of the museum began in 1908 at the hands of Morcos Samika Pasha (1944-1864), the first director of an Egyptian museum, and with the support of the Coptic Church represented by Pope Kyrollos V, Patriarch No. 211. The museum was officially opened on March 14, 1910.
The museum is located in Misr Al-Qadmia district (the Complex of Religions), within the walls of the Roman fortress of Babylon, surrounded by a group of the oldest and most important churches in Egypt, most notably the Church of the Virgin Mary, the Hanging Church, and Abu Serga Church. This is in addition to the oldest synagogue (Ben Ezra), which dates back to the ninth century. A few minutes' walk from the museum is Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque.
The museum’s collection of antiquities showcases Coptic history from its early beginnings in Egypt and during its prosperity.
The origins of Coptic Christianity in Egypt go back to the visit of Saint Mark to the city of Alexandria in the first century.
The antiquities displayed in the museum depict the blending of Coptic art with the prevailing cultures, including the Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures, and the evolution of its own identity.
The museum's large collection contains exquisitely illuminated manuscripts, icons, finely carved woodwork, and elaborate frescoes decorated with religious scenes, which survived from ancient monasteries and churches.