Featured Saint 22/1

St Habib Guirguis

Claim to fame: The most notable of the lay leaders of the age of the Sunday School Movement was Archdeacon Habeeb Guirguis, who was so outstanding not only because of his momentous deeds, but also because of the number of brilliant disciples he left behind, who followed his path and also wrote at length about his achievements since his death in 1951.

This giant man, who lived to the age of seventy-five, dedicated his whole life to the service of his church, even refusing marriage in order to channel time and many talents to its service. His vision was to see the resurrection of the glories of the church and he went about the task with unwavering love and enthusiasm. The main traits of his service were his perfection and comprehensiveness, and the combination of hard work with vision. In that he achieved the mark of greatness as stated by our Lord Jesus Christ, “…he who does (these commandments) and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven…”


Quote: “How shall I begin and what shall I say, we are used to never praising a living person, but today the time has come for us to talk. There is a time for silence and a time to speak out… what shall we then say… I cannot preach in the spiritual presence of this great preacher, I loathe even repeating the words he has taught us lest those words lose their strength when I utter them, for they came out so strongly when he spoke them. You had a heart so open with love for all, friend and foe alike. You have borne all things and served all people. You were wonderful, master, in your capacity for love and forgiveness. Your solid faith in God kept despair out of your heart despite the numerous obstacles that stood in your way. You possessed a great mind, one that grasped the matters of the world and the spirit.” – Bishop Gregorious at Habib’s Funeral


Fun fact: Habeeb Guirguis was born in Cairo in 1876, his father hailed from the upper Egyptian town of Tema. He was only four years old when his father died, and his mother brought him up on Christian principles and nurtured his love of the church since his early childhood. If not for his upbringing, he would unlikely have had such burning love for hischurch and he would not have fought so hard to advance its cause.