Chapter 13 Mother Irini’s Visions of Leadership: Pachomian Rule and Teaching of the Fathers

In: Copts in Modernity
Author:
Nelly van Doorn-Harder
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Abstract

This chapter places several aspects of the unique leadership style of Mother (Ummina) Irini (1936–2006), the Mother Superior of the convent of St. Abu Saifein, within the context of the revival and reform of Coptic monasticism for women. While famous during her lifetime, few outside her inner circles knew exactly how she taught and managed her community. This chapter argues that her strategy focused on three areas of monastic life: the application of the monastic rule of St. Pachomius, the teachings of the early desert fathers and mothers, and the creating women-oriented Coptic material and visual culture. This approach brought about the revival of monastic life for women, in and even outside Egypt. At the same time, the system she designed laid the foundation for religious practices for Christians, Copts and non-Copts, across the world.

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Copts in Modernity

Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium of Coptic Studies, Melbourne, 13-16 July 2018

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