Our History

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Pope Shenouda III lecturing in November 1989

The history of theological education in Sydney’s Coptic Orthodox Church has deep roots. Prior to the inauguration of St. Cyril’s, a dedicated group of men and women undertook the service of establishing Pope Shenouda III Coptic Orthodox Theological College, the first Coptic Theological College established outside of Egypt. In later years the College, in a bid to better service the Church and Academy, restructured as an accredited institution: St Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College (SCTC). St Cyril’s now offers the first stand-alone Masters degree in Orthodox Theology according to the Coptic tradition.

St Cyril’s is deeply indebted to the dedicated staff of Pope Shenouda III Theological College, and is very much the fruition of their efforts. Since its establishment, the College has educated hundreds of students, both in Sydney, and throughout the world through its distance studies program. Below, are the major milestones in the history of Coptic Theological education in Sydney.


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Pope Shenouda III with the College Faculty in November 1989


Key Milestones

1982 H.H. Pope Shenouda III delegated H.G. Bishop Antonios Marcos to visit the church in Australia, and to establish a theological college in Sydney. Mr.  Saad Sefein was appointed Registrar of the new Pope Shenouda III Coptic Orthodox Theological College. Studies began in the second semester of 1982 at St Anthony’s Church. Late Rev. Fr. Mina Nematalla, Mr. Amir Hanna, Mr. Ramsis Girgis, and Mr. Saad Sefein were the first to teach at the college.
1983 Rev. Fr. Sourial Youssef, Mr. Monier Azer, and Mr. Nabih Fanous joined the Faculty.
1984 The college moved to its present premises at 72 Wollongong Rd, Arncliffe, NSW. The teaching staff was joined by Mr. Magdy Kilada. Distance studies were introduced, forging a relationship with students and the future Theological College in Melbourne.
1986 The college published the first issue of its bulletin – The Logos – in both the Arabic and English languages.
1987 The first cohort of the College completed their theological studies. In the same year, Rev. Fr. Tadros el Bakhoumy, along with two of the Honours graduands, namely Mr. Monier Soliman and Mrs. Salwa Malik, joined the Faculty.
1989 At the beginning of 1989 the college building was completely renovated. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III blessed the building and inaugurated it in November, 1989. The next decade would see another four cohorts graduate.
2000 At the beginning of year 2000, six of the college graduates who were born or educated in Australia joined the teaching staff as lecturers, Mr. Maged Attia (now Rev. Fr. Matthew Attia), Mr. Shahir Goubran, Mr. Magdy Rizk, Mr. Magdy Meleka, Mr. Michael Ibrahim, Mr. Antonios Rofail, and Mrs. Nadine Samir
2001 Distance Study was extended to four continents, Africa, America, Europe, and New Zealand.
2002 On the 23rd of June, Bishop Daniel was ordained Bishop for Sydney and its Affiliated Regions at the Holy Hand of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III.
2011 Dr. Daniel Fanous (now Rev. Fr. Daniel Fanous) joined the Faculty, as a lecturer in Theology and New Testament
2015 In a bid to further provide academic excellence, the College was restructured as St Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College (SCTC). Fr Daniel Fanous was appointed by the College as Dean. He was joined by a strong team of Academics including Professor Rifaat Ebeid, Rev. Fr. Mark Basily, Rev. Fr. Doru Costache, Rev. Fr. Paul Fanous, Dr. Samuel Fanous, Rev. Fr. Rafael Iskander, Rev. Fr. Antonios Kaldas, Rev. Fr. Anthony St Shenouda, and Dr Margaret Tadros.
2016 In February, after significant efforts of its dedicated staff, St Cyril’s became a Member Institution of the Sydney College of Divinity (SCD). St Cyril’s now stands at the forefront of accredited Orthodox Theological education, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Orthodox Theology according to the Coptic Tradition. In a global first, St Cyril’s became the first to offer to a stand-alone Masters degree in Coptic Orthodox Theology. In another momentous step, St Cyril’s signed an Memorandum of Understanding with Macquarie University (MQ), thereby allowing students from St Cyril’s and the MQ Coptic Studies program to share and broaden their understanding of the Coptic tradition.



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