Memories of C.M.S. in Egypt by Atallah Athanasius 1931

(Atallah is second from left middle row, wearing fez. His father Athanasius Ghobrial is in the middle row holding his bible.)

It gives me great pleasure and honor to be able to tell you what I know of the past history of our good society and the noble work done by its agents; having been in contact with the Mission since 1889 when my dear father joined the work as a preacher of the Gospel.

I began in old Cairo Boys School as a pupil, and then I was a student in the C.M.S. Bishop Gobal School and the preparandi Institution at Jerusalem and then a teacher in the Old Cairo Boys School and afterwards headmaster of that school from 1894 – 1900 and a teacher in the Cairo Boys School from 1901 – 1905. Thus I am in a position to say something of my own experience.

I shall be obliged to be corrected when I make mistakes as some of the events date about 40 years back and I may not remember the happenings exactly. The period I am referring to, commences from the very beginning of the Society’s work in Egypt in 1885 up to the beginning of Canon Gairdner’s regime, a period which involves some missionaries who passed to their rest and others who are still in the field though they have retired. To these as well as to the others who are in active service I wish many happy years to come. There is no greater joy to us all, than having amongst us this day, the hero of the mission, the Venerable Dr. Harpur whom God hath spared to see with his own eyes the growth of the seeds sown and the wonders which the Lord hath done.

England has given, and is giving to Egypt the best and ablest of her useful men and women for the extension of God’s Kingdom in this country trying to pull down the barriers between East and West. These are the missionaries who have all proved faithful to their task, each in his sphere of work, they are all aiming at the target for which they have been called. They are all so good and capable that no distinction can be made between them.

If I mention some of the deeds of some of our missionaries in the past, whom I knew best, it is only to stimulate the present generation to the legacy handed over to them and in the meantime to give honor to those to whom honor is due and to remember that we have a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and that we should follow their examples.

C.M.S. Dates

Cairo: 1882, Old Cairo 1889

Dr. Harpur 1889 – 1892 (In Arabia 1885) rejoined 1893

Mrs & Miss Bywater 1890

Sheikh Athanasius 1890

Miss Eva Jackson 1891

Rev. F.F. Adeney 1893

Miss Sells 1896

Miss Crowther 1897

Rev. D.M. Thornton 1898

Dr. F O Lasbrey 1899

Mr. L. Gwynne 1899

Mr. W. H. T. Gairdner 1899

Mr. J. L. McIntyre 1899

Miss Western 1899

Miss Brainhartnell 1899

Miss Thora Harriot Bird 1901

Mr. A. J. Toop 1902

Dr. E. M. Pain 1902


Missions in Egypt

Moravian 1752

C.M.S. (1st) 1819 – 1862

American Presbyterian 1854

C.M.S. (2nd) 1882

The Moravian (Austrian) Mission started in 1752, 179 years ago during the regime of “Memluks”. The leading missionary was Dr. Hooker who suffered persecution under “Memluks” and was forced, among all the Europeans in Egypt to abandon his own European form of dress and wear that of their own “Sharkasi” dress; the head dress being a turban. (Dr. Andrew Watson book on History of the American Mission in Egypt).

C.M.S. Mediterranean Mission: Began at Malta in 1815 and afterwards extended to Egypt, Abyssinia, Greece, Turkey, Asia Minor and Palestine; the object being to revive the Eastern Churches and through them to evangelize the Moslems. Some very able and devoted missionaries were employed in the work – they were: Weekly, Jowet, Gobat, Leader, Muller, Cross, Krapf, Pfandar, Koelle ..etc… The scheme failed as Oriental Christendom manifested no readiness to be quickened into life by missionaries from the West and Moslem fanaticism repudiated the Gospel. In Malta the C.M.S. had a Printing Press (Arabic) before the Beirut Press existed. I was told that through that Malta Press the Gospels were published in Arabic and distributed among the Copts and afterwards the whole Bible was published and distributed in Egypt by Mr. Cross.

C.M.S. (1st) 1819 – 1862

The Society had formerly a mission in Egypt as part of its above scheme for the revival of the Eastern Churches. There was a C.M.S. Seminary in Cairo in which some of the Coptic Clergy and one Bishop were trained, but the visible results were small and the work was discontinued in 1862 (about 69 years ago). The missionaries allotted by the society for its first mission in Egypt were Mr. Leader and Mr. Cross and their work terminated in establishing the first English College in Egypt at Faggala with the cooperation of the late Miss Mary Whately. The late Girgis Hanna Yazbak one of our catechists and agent of Orient and Occident was a pupil in that college. The College has, since, reverted to Miss Whately on whose death it passed over to Sitt Farida Shakkur (the mother of the late Nagib Pasha Shakkur, she is still living 85 years old) in accordance with the deceased’s will and there after it was taken over by the American Mission who are now using the premises for a Girls’ Day School, a lodge for some of their missionaries and office for their Periodicals الهدى and نجم المشرق. The Seminary founded by Mr. Leader was situated in the neighborhood of the Coptic Cathedral in Darb-el-Wasia, Sharia Clot Bey. A gate in that locality leading to Mr. Leader’s Quarters was known as بوابة ليدر. “Leader’s Gate” (I got this information from an old Copt related to the Patriarchate). Mr. Cross engaged particularly in circulating the Arabic Edition of the Bible Printed in the Malta Press before the arrival of the Bible Society in Egypt. Some people say that the Malta Press was brought to Cairo and was stationed in the personage of the Coptic Cathedral for printing the Bible. The work done by Mr. Cross proved to be of valuable help to the American Presbyterians when they commenced their mission in Egypt in 1854 that is eight years before the first C.M.S. mission was discontinued. The American mission was started in Cairo by Dr. Lancing and at Assiut by Dr. John Hogg.

Among the names of missionaries previously mentioned in connection with the Mediterranean Mission we find “Gobat.” Gobat was recruited for Abyssinia but sent to Jerusalem where he founded the C.M.S. Preparandi Institution and the school called after his name Bishop Gobat’s School on Mount Zion. Gobat was appointed Bishop in Jerusalem in 1846 succeeded by Bishop Barclay in 1879, Bishop Blyth in 1887 and Bishop McInnes in 1914.

The Bishopric in Jerusalem was founded in 1841 on the initiative of King Fredric William IV of Prussia; the arrangement being that England and Prussia who shared the expense of the sea should alternately nominate its occupant. On the death of Bishop Barclay, the German government failed to nominate a successor and evidently declined to continue the arrangement.

C.M.S. (2nd time) 1882

In 1882 about 49 years ago in response to the appeals of Miss Mary Whitely and in consequence of the British Occupation of Egypt, the Rev. F. A. Klein (German) formerly of the C.M.S. who built the Church of St. Paul in Jerusalem was sent to Cairo to begin a new mission among the Mohammedans and in 1889 a medical mission was opened by Dr. Harpur.

Rev. F.A. Klein 1882- 1890

Rev. Klein was living in Faggala. He was an Arabic scholar who preached in Arabic and spoke other languages besides his own German tongue. It was he who discovered the Rossetta Stone. Controversial leaflets for Mohammedans were written by him. Of these the following may be mentioned: أين الإنجيل الحقيقي “where is the true Gospel”, “Which is better Jesus or Mohamed” البرهان الجليل على صحة التوراة والإنجيل؟ Authenticity of the Bible and many other books which are still in the circulation the most important of which is أبحاث المجتهدين a resourceful book still used in debates with the Muslims, this was written by Nicola, EFF, Gabril who was one of our catechists (now in Beirut, editor of النشرة الأسبوعية) . There was also an Arabic commentary on St Luke which Mr. Klein translated from English. Mr. Klein wrote a book on Islam in English but it was not printed as the author got ill and had to leave. Dr. Harpur is the only one who knows some thing about this. The following is a brief statement of the work in Cairo and in Old Cairo during Mr. Klein’s regime:

In Cairo:

Boys School: A day school for boys was in Saria Darb Saada beyond the Cairo Governorate in 1890 so long before that date (I am not sure). It was then removed to Shari Mohamed Ali what is known now as سوق الخضار Vegetable market in Ataba –el-Kadra after that it was discontinued and afterwards reopened in Sharia Mohamed Ali opposite the Royal Library in Bab-el Khalk during the time of the Rev. F.F. Adeney the Secretary of the mission who replaced Mr. Klein.

 Girls School: This was at Saida Zeinab first under charge of Miss Bywater. Dr. Harpur was also living at Saida Zeinab at the time (I am not sure if the school in Saida Zeinab was boarding or not), afterwards it was moved to Bab-el-luk then to Sharia Bustan then to Sharia Dawawin, then to Sharia Fahmi (I am not sure) and afterwards to Kasr El Doubara, Saint Mary’s and then to Boulac where it is at present.

Bookshop: this was in one of the ground floor rooms of the boys school in سوق الخضار and it was afterwards shifted to Sharia Abd-el-ِِِAziz near what is known now as Cinema Olympi and then it was moved to Mohamed Ali Street opposite سوق الخضار and remained there until 1904 when it was removed to Beit Arabi Pasha in Bab-el–luk where Messrs McInnes, Thornton & Gairdner were living.

Clinic: A clinic was started by Dr. Harpur in Cairo in 1890. It was discontinued when the Old Cairo Medical work was developed.

Church Services: These were held in a big room in the Boys school which was re-opened in Sharia Mohamed Ali during Mr. Adeney’s time.

Evangelistic Meetings: These were held in the big courtyard of the Boys School and meetings, occasionally with magic lantern, for interviewing students and enquirers were held in the bookshop before removal to Beit-Arabi Pasha.

Old Cairo:

Boys School: The Boys School in Old Cairo has existed since 1885 or perhaps 2 years earlier. The first graduate was Saleh Sheemi now Saleh Bey Sheemi chief clerk of the Supplies Dept. Ministry of War. Saleh graduated in 1891 after having stayed in the school for 6 or 7 years. The number of boys enrolled varied between 150 and 200. A French master was employed for the French Language. Additional teachers from Government schools were employed to assist in certain subjects for certain periods during the week. The late Girgis Hanna Yazbak who was a pupil in Sitt Farida’s School was a Junior teacher in the Old Cairo Boys School. The School was on the main road before you turn left to haret el Kabwa. Afterwards during Mr. Adeney’s time it was removed to a house next door on the same road and then to Beit el Franca and remained there under charge of Mr. And Mrs. Toop until it was removed to its new buildings in Roda Island. It was customary in those days to give free lodgings to the catechists and teachers most of whom were accommodated in the boys schools in earlier days and not only in the boys school but also in the girls school and even in the houses which were rented for the clinics.

Boys School at Giza: I am told there was a boys School at Giza instituted about the same date as that of the Old Cairo Boys school but I have not been able yet to trace anything about it.

Clinic: This was commenced by Dr. Harpur in rented premises, first in Sharia Kawala in the house of Ahmed Bey Abou Rabia and afterwards in near the House of Osman EFF. Sirry a retired army officer, in the main road near the Boys School. The latter house was used as a clinic, in patients section, and accommodation for the nurses and other missionary ladies, Miss Jackson and Miss Man and Miss Cay. The clinic was later, moved to the Salamili–el-Farancawi looking over the Nile; the in-patients section remained in Osman Sirry’s house until the hospital was built.

Evangelistic meetings: Those were conducted mostly by Dr. Harpur who also conducted other meeting and clubs for the young men in Old Cairo such as Temperance meetings and the like. Most remarkable evening meetings were held among the boatmen in their sailing boats moored at the “Sahel” (Nile Side) at Old Cairo where merchants from Upper Egypt used to bring cereals for sale in the Shahel (before these boats were removed to Rod el Farag). The men were interested, they listened attentively and enjoyed singing hymns in their own Saidi tunes with accompaniment of the violin some times. When the boats were removed to Rod El Farag, these meetings were continued and C.M.S. had a mission station there and built a house where Dr. and Mrs. Harpur stayed for some time.

Those boatmen and merchants who came from Upper Egypt and frequented the Sahel spread the news of these C.M.S. meetings in their country. My father was well acquainted with those people in whose country he preached the Gospel, both independently and when he worked with the American Mission in Assiut province in 1875 before he joined the C.M.S. in 1890.

The C.M.S. was known as الكنيسة الأسقفية Episcopal Church. My father received a petition bearing many signatures from some of the Assiut people including that of the Omda of Assiut Habib Pasha Shenouda and the Sheik El Balad and other people of good standing requesting to join الكنسية الأسقفية and asking my father to approach the society for this purpose. The petition was however submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury through Cannon McInnes who was the Secretary of C.M.S. in Egypt. A reply was received from the Archbishop and communicated to the petitioners at Assiut to the effect that while thanking them, the C.M.S. or الكنيسة الأسقفية cannot entertain their request as she does not aim at taking people from other churches and that we do not overlap and interfere in places where the American Missionaries are working.

In this connection I am sorry to say that our brethren the Americans did not seem to adhere to this principle of الكنيسة الأسقفية take for instance Fum-el Kalig which forms part of Old Cairo the Head Quarters and strong hold of the C.M.S. not with standing these facts, the Americans instituted a mission station and are going to build a church in Fum el Kalig.

Rev. F. F. Adeney (1893 Residing at Helwan)

From 1889- 1892 the mission work both evangelistic and medical was interrupted and there was no control; many changes in the staff having taken place the most important of which are:

  1. Rev. F. A. Klein the secretary had had to leave and the mission was supervised by missionaries from Palestine first by Rev. Sykes of Nablous who stayed part of the time in Cairo and part in Palestine (the Syrian Arabic of Mr. Sykes was somewhat strange to the Egyptians, he used to prefix the definite article to all proper names, this instead of ياجرجس – يا يوسف – ياعطالله he said يالجرجس – ياليوسف – يالعطالله ) After Mr. Sykes came Rev. Connor in 1889 from Huran who was supposed to replace Mr. Klein he stayed in Old Cairo but had to leave owing to the ill health of Mrs. Connor and was replaced temporarily by Mr. G. F. Packer (now Rev. Packer) who was then in charge of the Boys School, he lived in the same house on the Nile side which is now (1931) occupied by the girls school. It was Mr. Packer who kindly made me a present of the violin which I have had for about 37 years. He said first that he would lend it to me for two weeks if I could manage to play one or two hymns, from memory of course. This I did, and he was pleased and said that he would leave it with me for seven weeks if I could manage to play five more hymns. This I also did and when I returned the violin to him at the end of the seven weeks he said, “no keep it, I meant the seven weeks in Daniel.” This violin was of great help in singing in school.


  1. Dr. Harpur had to go to England at the end of 1891-1893 on account of Mrs. Harpur’s health and the medical mission was taken charge of, by Dr. Patterson and afterwards by Dr. Laird who for one reason or the other had to quit the mission and took up a private clinic in Mansoura. In May 1890 Dr. Harpur was delegated by the Society to proceed to Sawakin on the Red Sea in connection with a Famine Relief. Dr. Harpur was originally in Hideida in Arabia in 1885 and at Aden in 1886 before he joined the Egypt Mission in 1889 -1892. Then he was away in England owing to Mrs. Harpur’s illness, after which he rejoined the mission in Egypt in 1893 during which year or so the Rev. F.F. Adeney of the C.M.S. Preparandi Institutions. Jerusalem (now the C.M.S. College there) was appointed Secretary of C.M.S. in Egypt and lived at Helwan on account of his health.

Under Mr. Adeney’s administration the mission began to be recognized as an organized body and new missionaries were added to the staff. His regime was marked by the following important events in the history of the C.M.S. in Egypt:

  • The Cholera in 1896
  • The C.M.S. Centenary
  • The building of the Hospital
  • The Building of the Old Cairo Church
  • The Exemption from Military Service of four Egyptian young men of the congregation one of them being exempted through the efforts of Dr. Harpur with Kitchener Bey who became Lord Kitchener.

The Cholera

In 1896 Cholera broke out in Egypt starting from Kom Ghurab, in the neighborhood of Old Cairo. In the course of the disinfection process by the employees of the Public Health Department, the people who were not accustomed to such sanitary measures attacked one of the disinfectors, an Italian employee, who in defense of himself, sprinkled them with Vitriol, thus causing injuries to the agitators including some women and babies. The Police came to the spot and removed them to the Old Cairo Police station and saved the Italian from their grip. I happened to witness the scene and hurried to Dr. Harpur who was in the clinic in Salamlik-el Farancawi. Dr. Harpur proceeded to the scene to render medical help. Dr. Keating Director of General Public Health Department arrived later. The mob increased and rumor was spread that it was the English who brought the Cholera. The sight of some of the missionaries there supported the rumor. Rev. W. Morris came to the spot to assist among other members of the mission one was Miss Jackson. He asked for some water to apply to the burns and he was given a pot full of red water drawn directly from the Nile near by (it was the flood season) the water was muddy and filthy and before he applied it, he was asked to drink from it first which he did, to remove their suspicion as they believed that we poisoned the water. We all were shut in the premises of the Police station and were ordered by the authorities and by Coles Pasha, the then Commandant of the Cairo City Police who came from Cairo with Police Force, not to leave the police station until the mob became quieter, however we left the station unescorted by police against the will of the authorities after we were detained for the greater part of the day, the mob followed and threatened us and before Dr. Harpur reached his house which was in (Manyal) المنيلthey threw stones at him and he was somewhat protected by his umbrella. The next day Coles Pasha, the Hekimdar, summoned the agitators who assaulted Dr. Harpur in order to have them tried before the Court. Coles Pasha came round to meet Dr. Harpur and to persuade him to institute proceedings but the latter avoided meeting him and wrote him a letter which was delivered by me. I confess now that I read the letter in which Dr. Harpur stated that as he was a messenger of peace and servant of the Gospel among the people he would not have them tried or have any legal proceedings against them and would rather drop the Case and forgive the offenders. This act of love on Dr. Harpur’s part had its impression on the people.

II- C.M.S. Centenary

In connection with the celebration of the centenary, Dr. Chorly Hall a man who was filled with Holy Spirit proposed holding evangelistic meetings in the open air in the Cairo Muslim quarters particularly in Sayyda Zeinab, Boulac and the Citadel, basing his idea on the fact that the light is more needed in the darker places. Those meetings were to be held during the Passion Week. Those who volunteered to carry out the scheme were some of the teachers of the Old Cairo Boys School and two catechists and one of the missionaries; Dr. Hall, Rev. Hollins and Rev. Taylor. A Coptic priest Abouna Hanna of Deir Abou Sefain joined the party. The arrangements were as follows: the subject to be preached at every meeting in the street was, sin, atonement and forgiveness, and glory. These were represented in their respective colours; black, red, white on a rag fixed to a roller which was to be heisted as the passage was delivered. The meeting was to be started by a hymn, first read explained and then sung with the accompaniment of the hornet played by Dr. Hall and the violin played by me thus announcing the meeting and collecting the people. As this street meetings was the first of its kind it created a great astonishment (I must say here that Mr. Adeney and other missionaries and teachers did not agree to it).

The people could not make out, at first, what kind of party we were; English and Egyptians holding a flag and musical instruments and gong about in the streets. Some thought we were survey engineers, others look as to be beggars in the streets. The first meetings I attended with the party above mentioned was held in Sayyda Zeinab Square just opposite the great mosque and at a stones throw from the Police Station. The singing brought many people as the preaching went on and the flag hoisted many made came to the scene and begin to assault us commencing with our leader Dr. Hall who was caught by the throat. Other agitators tried to smash the musical instruments. The mob increased to an alarming degree. The police dispersed the people against the will of Dr. hall who wanted them to hear the message. We tried to keep our temper before our attackers but one of the junior teachers, Weesa Eff, could not help swearing at them. When he was hit by a heavy stick on the shoulder his anger was aroused and he said: أه يا أبوى يا ابن الكلب . The police interfered and we had to stop the meeting and walk back to Old Cairo. On our way, at Fum El Khalig we were accosted by a big band of butchers coming from the slaughter house with knives in their hands; having heard that the English were converting Muslims in the streets and were offending Islam. However, we found some friends among them who frequent the Hospital and through their intervention in our favor we reached Old Cairo safely. The meeting was tried again in one or two other Moslem quarters with the same procedure and the visible result proved a failure. The last of those meetings was held in the big court yard of the school in Sharia Mohammed Ali on Easter Monday evening, the well known day of Shem El Nessim a public holiday at the end of which many quarrels arise.


By that time the news was spread in the city and hundred of Moslems poured into Sharia Mohamed Ali to attend the meeting equipped with sticks and clubs and caused a great disturbance. Dr. Lasbury quietly collected some sticks from the people before they entered and we had to close the gate to prevent further agitators coming in. We discovered that the Ghaffirs and Policemen on duty were on the side of the mob and joined them in their demonstrations against us. Dr. Hall had to go up the roof of the building and summoned some English mounted policemen who were on their way to their barracks in the Citadel and when they realized the situation they came to our help and communicated with the authorities. The gate was opened and the police officers came in and a procéverbal was drawn up and enquires went on until about 3 o clock after midnight before Dr. Hall could be relieved. I had to go to Old Cairo earlier and tell Mrs. Hall that Dr Hall was coming later.


The next morning the newspapers appeared with comments on the event that the British hoisted the English flag in Egypt and that they were paying 100 Sterling and a box of cigarettes to every convert from Islam. A Punch Paper mentioned the incident and said that the money for the converts was kept in the two cases (referring to the two cases of the musical instruments) and in describing the “mubashir” (now Rev. Girgis Bishay) it said that he keeps visiting people and after he receives entertainment, a cigarette and a cup of coffee he tells you اتفضل شرفنا في الجمعية شارع محمد على and that the English have a sort of sky light or a trap in Sharia Mohamed Ali for hunting Muslims.


Two days after, Lord Cromer the uncrowned king of Egypt in those days summoned the secretary, Mr. Adeney and instructed him not to have any further meetings of this sort but to have them in doors in which case he (Lord Cromer) said that he will order the authorities to send detectives to attend the meetings and arrest any one who cause trouble.


III Building of the Hospital 1897

The site was bought from the owner Sheikh Hassan Ibada @ P.T. 18 the square meter. The preliminary negotiations with the landlord were carried out by the catechist Sheikh Athanasius and Dr. Michail Agamy and myself because if an English man had interfered, the price charged would have been much higher. When this step was overcome the contract was passed to Mr. Adeney for final arrangements and signature. The land lord who knew from Mr. Adeney that the money was to come from Salisbury Square London (The address of the C.M.S.) felt very proud for dealing with Mr. Adeney whom he took to be (as he told me) a cousin of Lord Salisbury, the man interpreted Salisbury Square as Lord Salisbury; the word “Salisbury” being well know in Egypt as the Prime Ministry of the British Government. Sheikh Hassan regretted that he did not charge more money since the land, as he imagined, from the word Salisbury was wanted by the British Government, through “Salisbury” and his cousin Adeney.


The inauguration of the Hospital buildings was one of the greatest events. It was attended by many dignitaries among whom were Lord Cromer, His Beatitude Kirollos II, the late Coptic Patriarch, Mansfield Pasha, the Commandant of the Cairo City Police and some representatives of the American Mission among whom were the late Dr. Andrew Watson and Dr. John Giffin. Mr. Adeney gave the opening speech and Gindi Eff. Abou Skheiroun, our old catechist (who is now retired) delivered a remarkable speech bearing on the deeds of mercy and truth carried out by the Society – at that time the war was going on between the Turks and the Greeks.


IV Building of the Church in Old Cairo

Thanks are due to the late Rev. J. L. MacIntyrs who was in charge of the Boys School at the time. It was through his untiring efforts that the land was bought and the church built. Also to the late Dr. E. M. Pain who sacrificed much of his time toward the architecture and tiling etc. Dr. Harpur was the president of the Building Committee. The funds were raised by subscription through the missionaries and the Egyptian workers, some of the folks at Assiut gave liberally toward the scheme. The members of the congregation collected money through sales. My mother helped by making and baking bread herself – home made brand at cost price “__“ and selling it to the missionaries and workers at market price thus allotting the difference being the cost of her labor toward the church fund; this process lasted for months.


A Moslem calligraphist in Old Cairo wrote the Gospel text on the marble tablet fixed at the door of the church without any charge.


The Medical Mission

To me the parable of the Mustard Seed was fully and practically explained in the wonderful growth of the Medical Mission in Old Cairo which I was in contact with about 40 years ago when my father joined it as catechist. People then had very little confidence in doctors and much had to be done to persuade patients to go to the Hospital for treatment even for nothing. Whenever I go to Old Cairo now I recall the old days. I always likened the growth of the Hospital to that of the huge “Bunian” trees that are planted along side the River in old Cairo which are growing and extending year after year some of the twigs band down until they touch the earth, perforate the soil and shoot forth and in time form another tree and so on, while both the original and the new trees derive their nourishment from the water of the flowing river. It is a strange coincidence that those trees exist in abundance and particularly in Old Cairo and near the Hospital. They form a very pleasant thorough fare and a safe shelter from heat, wind and even rain where people of all sorts are seen sitting under the shade enjoying themselves and feeling quite at home. In India the poor use these trees as houses. Indeed these trees are true to their name “Bunian” which is evidently an Arabic word بنيان which means building.


The proper statistics showing the growth of the medical work can of course be obtained from the reports and record but I can give rough one and Dr. Harpur will correct me. In the past the Hospital and staff were accommodated in a rented house covering an area of about 300 square meters, now the accommodation in Old Cairo and the branches, Menouf, Ashmoun etc; covers an area owned by the Society of about thirty thousands Square meters. The staff numbered 3 or 4 now it is about 100 or little more.


Dr. F.J. Harpur

I need hardly to say that the earlier days of the work and until the mission was reinforced by new missionaries, the responsibilities of the whole work were laid on Dr. Harpur. In addition to his heavy medical work which was increasing day after day he had charge of the various evangelistic meetings. Indeed it can be safely said that the past history of the C.M.S. was that of Dr. Harpur. So numerous were the responsibilities that should have been borne by several men and yet he coped with them all alone marvelously. His fame as a zealous man of God who poured his heart in the work for the devious was spread far and wide as Evangelist, physician and Surgeon. He excelled in performing operation especially in connection with Cystocele, Cystotoma and lithotrities and extracting gravels and stones of various sizes. The late famous surgeon Dr. Milton Head of the Government Kasr El Aini Hospital had very often referred to Dr. Harpur’s skill.


Although Dr. Harpur has retired long ago he is devoting himself to evangelistic work. Harmela’s work and labors shall remain immortal testifying the Glory of God in the Country.


An English artist Mr. Erskine Nicol who lived in Old Cairo and knew Dr. Harpur well said to me once that Harpur was a good chap and a splendid fellow but that he would have been far better if he were not a missionary. Mr. Nicol appreciated the medical work but he once remarked to me that the procedure adopted of getting the patients to attend the prayer meeting first before receiving treatment was not in conformity with the teaching of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Dr. Harpur is a man who speaks from his heart does not take care of himself and he gets engrossed in the work and forgets everything else. One wonders how he could have done all that he did but such wonder will be removed when we remember that his wife Mrs. Harpur was his right hand and guardian angel who was, and is, looking after him and helping him in many ways, otherwise, he could not have coped with the work as he did. I remember once he was in a hurry to catch a train to Helwan and he would have been hurt had not Mrs. Harpur been accompanying him. Indeed, the happy family led by the Harpurs is the ideal one.


Mrs. Harpur

Mrs. Harpur was the only lady missionary at that time and she carried out her share in the work as such in addition to visiting the patients and others. I remember the old days when she used to play the harmonium in church- the church services being held in the big room in the Boys school. The first hymn she taught us wasقد فاق حبا ِ Jesus loves me this I know. And we were very proud. How I wished at that time to be in possession of a harmonium or any musical instrument. Not only music in church was now in those days, but also the sight of an English man , Dr. Harpur and his wife, Mr. Harpur going about with linked arms in the road of Old Cairo was some what strange to the people who were amazed to see women unveiled.


Miss Crowther:

In connection with the medical and evangelistic work a word there must be said about Miss Crowther (Now Mrs. Little); In addition to her work as a nurse she founded a big Sunday School for the poor girls and boys of Old Cairo, Fom el Khalig and el Gayyara. Her efforts were very successful and the school swarmed with children. She used to give them a magnificent Christmas treat every year and supply them with presents and prizes and the school was going on regularly.



The first man upon whom Dr. Harpur operated for a stone in the bladder was Hamid from Beni Suef, he stayed in the clinic until he recovered, he was so grateful that he requested permission to join Dr. Harpur as a servant as soon as he gets well enough.


The Boy Nour Harpur

Nour: In May 1889 Dr. Harpur proceeded to Sawakin on the Red Sea in connection with a famine relief. Hamid accompanied him and proved useful to him. The people were starving, they were gathered in “Zaribas” enclosures in the out skirts of the town of Sawakin where they were given their rations of dry grains of dura (maize) some of them were so feeble and weak that they could not stand. Dr. Harpur picked up a small Sudanese orphan boy whose father died of starvation in the Zariba. The boy’s name was Nour Aly. Dr. Harpur adopted him and brought him with him to Old Cairo and he was called Nour Harpur.   The boy lived with us in our family (at Dr. Harpur’s expense of course). The day before we received him we cleaned him with the help of Hamid the “Tamargi” and we found in his clothes about 100 lice which were collected and put in a bottle first before they were destroyed. Nour grew up to be a fine lad. Dr. Harpur instructed him daily in the Bible lessons and he was supplied with copies of the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed which Dr. Harpur had already printed in the Sudanese language for the use of the people at Sawakin when he was there. Nour was bright and promising. He spent some time in the Old Cairo Boys School and afterwards was sent to the American Mission College at Assiut as a boarder. No one could offend Nour as he would, then, go to father Harpur. He also considered my father and mother as parents calling them أبوى and أمى and was like a brother to us. He and I were good friends though, he was difficult, sometimes at school when he was provoked by the boys and showed his Sudanese temper. Nour had a talent for music, he sang all our hymns and was quick at catching tunes and led singing. The eyes of some of his country people in Cairo were set upon him to take him back to Islam and one day Nour disappeared from us. Police enquires were made immediately and at last we found him hidden some where in Sayyda Zeinab by some Moslems who wanted to take him back to Islam. Later on, when Sudan was reopened by Lord Kitchner, Nour went there and I learnt that he occupied a position of Police Commandant in one of the Sudan Provinces.


Miss Sells:

In connection with the Hospital a word must be said about Miss Sells but this is difficult because she is very seldom seen to be described. She is so engrossed in her work that one sees very little of her. She is more than faithful to her task. Those connected with the Hospital know much more about her than I do. However, I was able to discover something about her work in the earlier days when she was in the course of learning the language. Whenever she was off duty she used to visit the villages surrounding Old Cairo, specially Basatin, Atar el Nabi and Deir el Tin. She was rather strict in carrying out the regulations. She made no distinction whether the patient was a prince or a peasant. She was always the friend of the Fallah.


Sheikh Salih Badawi: In about 1896 one of the patients in the old Cairo Hospital was Sheikh Salih Badawi from the village of Bani Samit. He was operated upon and recovered and became a great friend of the mission. Salih was an influential Sheikh in his village, a graceful and beloved man. Long before he entered the Hospital, he was accused of murder, a thing which was not known to the mission. Some Arabs having raided his village, a quarrel arose between them and the villagers and Salih was an accomplice in a murder and sentenced to penal servitude and sent to jail. However, during the Egyptian rebellion by Arabi Pasha in 1881 the revolutionist forced the prisons open and the prisoners escaped and so Salih went back and appeared in his village. When the revolution abated and things became quieter through the British occupation the prisoners who had run away were arrested and re-imprisoned and so Salih was sent back to Tura Prison. It was the custom of the Birth of His Highness the Khelive every year to release these prisoners who proved to be of satisfactory behavior Salih’s name was enlisted among those but he did not come out with the others. The news were brought to the mission and Sir John Scott promised to examine the matter. Dr. Harpur continued perusing the case and at last Salih was released. There was great joy in the mission and Salih invited the missionaries to his village where Dr. Harpur had the privilege of preaching to the men and Miss Sells and Miss Jackson to the women; the main subject being the release by Christ the King from the Prison of Sin. We all became friends with Salih and exchanged visits and held meetings in his own house in his village, and many Moslems attended. An earnest Copt, a camel driver, whose house was next door to Salih’s urged me to have meetings in his own house as was done in Salih’s house.



In connection with this event Miss Sells had a dog whom she called “Tura” (after the name of the Tura Prison where Salih was). One day “Tura” was found dead in the garden of the Hospital. The gardener, Mohamed El Saghir, thought that the death was due to a snake’s bite. Miss Sells wanted to know if there were snakes in the Hospital therefore a snake charmer was brought from Boulac to do the business. The charmer was thoroughly examined and inspected to make sure that he had nothing on him, he was stripped of his clothes and given new ones from the Hospital. Then he entered the underground floor attended by those who were present. He went to one room after the other exercising his function by whistling and recitation etc. and he brought out about 10 snakes. He was paid his usual fees. Miss Sells suspected the snakes and had to buy them from the charmer who was very reluctant to sell them. The snakes were kept in bottles and sent to Capt Flower the Director of Zoological Gardens at Giza for examination. Capt Flower reported that it was not likely to get 10 snakes from such a place in which there would not be sufficient food of small animals as mice and birds etc. to supply such a number of snakes.


I was living in the house of أبو العلا opposite the Hospital and two or there days previous to his incident my brother Habeeb found a big snake in his room and killed it. The neighbours said it was not wise to kill the snake which they believed was the guardian of the house and do no harm unless it is interfered with, they said, the snake we killed must have a mate which will avenge itself. However, when the charmer finished from the hospital we brought him round to our house and after the usual process of whistling he got out a snake.


Mr. Adeney

Mr. Adeney died 2 or 3 days before Christmas 1902. His message to the congregation before his death was “Christ was incarnate and was made man in order to approach man, what have we done to approach him”? Mr. Adeney while he sometimes seemed severe on others in the course of carrying out the work, was on the other hand pure and kind hearted. Once when he was inspecting the school classes he noticed that one of the teachers was unwell he, at once, relieved him, gave him enough money out of his own pocket to go for a few days change. This was like him as he often gave financial aid to some teachers and catechists. He was much beloved by all who were under his care. He was influential, just and sound in his judgments which were served on the Egyptians and the English equally and impartially. Once one of the teachers had to absent himself from school in Mohamed Ali for some important family reasons, a case of death. The superintendent of that school punished the teacher by cutting off part of his salary. The teacher appealed to Mr. Adeney who examined the case and when he found that the teacher was wronged and harshly treated he refunded the money at once from his pocket and later on had the amount deducted from the Superintendant’s salary.


Mr Adeney was in the habit of inviting all the workers and the members of the congregation to come to his house at Helwan for a Christmas treat every year. This was one of the most enjoyable social meetings when all gathered to get thanks and received copies of the C.M.S. almanac.


Once Mr. Adeney was taking the Church Service on Sunday assisted by catechist Girgis Eff Bishay in the big room in the clinic (Salamlik el Farancawi) in old Cairo. A Moslem Sheikh attended the service and was seated among the congregation and while we were all kneeling down he stole silently to the platform took off his shoe and knelt down near Mr. Adeney while he was officiating. The man performed a short prayer in the Moslem fashion very quietly. Girgis Eff Bishay was rather startled and peeped at him from between his fingers while he was kneeling down. The Sheikh slipped from the platform and retook his seat amongst us and said he was glad he counter acted our prayers.


The Late Rev. D.M. Thornton

About the Rev. D. M. Thornton much has already been said and published but as his work and name was involved in my subject I feel that a word of tribute is due.


In his work Mr. Thornton kept steadfastly before him as his ultimate objective the evangelization of the followers of Mohammed. In the meantime he devoted special attention to stimulating the revival of the religious life among the Copts and so he reverted to the original idea of the C.M.S. Mediterranean Mission (which I have already referred to) of influencing the people of Egypt by means of the Coptic Church. Accordingly, during his itinerating in Upper Egypt he came in contact with Coptic Bishops and other leaders and with their aid and even in their own churches he conducted large evangelistic meetings. In Cairo itself he assisted in such meetings in one or two Coptic Churches and inspired some earnest Copts (such as the late Basseeli Eff Butros) with the desire of his objective. Mr. Thornton’s efforts in this connection and later on Mr. Morice Richmond, who worked among the Copts, inspired some Coptic young men like Basili Eff and Rev. Ibrahim Luka and Hafiz Eff Daoud to a spiritual movement and the result was the institution of the Coptic Y.M.C.A. and the Friends of the Bible at Faggala. The Bishop of Kinah the late Abounah Lukas who represented the late Coptic Patriarch gave utterance at the grave side to touching words of appreciation concerning his departed friend. Mr. Thornton’s mind and heart was streaming with projects for the extension of the work which projects he strongly believed in and wanted to have put in force even when other fellow-workers held different views to his. In this connection I would quote a passage written by his colleagues and intimate friend the late Canon Gairdner who said: “His faults were the defects of his qualities; thus his enthusiasm might sometimes be rashness, his rapidity of thoughts might lead to inconsistency of thinking, his uncompromising devotion to principle might make him slow to see other’s “view-point” or severe on their weakness or stupidity. But what were these things compared with the pure heart with its strength as of ten, because it was pure with the utter faithfulness with passionate changeless devotion! He had the one thing needful – he sought the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, the Kingdom of God was not an object of his life, it was the object of his life, it was the life he lived for naught else.”


He died in 1907 from enteric fever due to much exertion and over-work. On the occasion of his death I wrote an article in the “Orient and Occident” dated October 11, 1907 of which the following quotation referring to his love to Egypt. His dying wish was to be buried if possible in a native cemetery where his body might rest in peace with the people of the country whom he loved. Is not this a sufficient proof of his love to Egypt and the Egyptians in life and in death?


Language Teaching

The oral examination was held in the Hospital. The examiners Mr. Adeney, Dr. Andrew Watson, of the American Mission and an Egyptian teacher sat in the room in the Dr.’s lodge over looking the court yard where the students were sitting, the door and the window of that room being closed and the examiners leaning on the window sill near the shutter so that they could hear and also see the students from the meshes of the shutter without the latter seeing them. The students were brought nearer to the window where they sit freely with their hearers and do their waz وعظ and conversation etc. each examiner put down on a piece of paper the marks and remarks which he thought the student deserved, afterwards the marks put down by the examiners were added up, and the mean taken would be the marks acquired by the student. This scheme of Mr. Adeney was most convenient and agreeable especially to those who get nervous in the exam because in this way they did not feel that there were examiners in the spot.


Old Cairo Boys School 1894 – 1900

The number enrolled varied between 100 and 120, the notice board fixed at the main gate of the school bore the inscription in old writing: المدرسة الخيرية الانجليزية “The Benevolent English School” which meant that there was practically no fees. Nearly all the boys came from the poorer classes some of whom were even bare foot and could not afford to pay and the very few who could, paid PT 2 or 3 per month. The highest fees received from well to do parents never exceeded PT 10 and the payment on the whole was a secondary matter and was not even regular. The aim of the school being evangelistic rather than technical, the financial side of the question was taken no notice of, so far as the boys attended regularly their Bible classes and Sunday school. The instructions of the representatives of the Society were that it was the نفوس (souls) that were sought after and not the فلوس (money). We never sent boys home if they were untidy or not well dressed because if we did, they will stay at home thus missing their schooling and Bible lessons. There were five teachers including the head master and a pupil teacher, costing the society about 25 Pounds per month including the rent, while the highest school income did not exceed 2 or 3 pounds. One month I remember I was able to collect 75 PT only. The school was a primary one with all the courses for primary education in those days, but unlike other schools it had the advantage of the English language being taught by an English man. At that time it was the late Rev, J.L Macintyre in addition to the Egyptian teachers.


The Primary Education Certificate

Two of our pupils succeeded in obtaining the Primary Education Certificates in 1896. The examination fees at that time being 1 pound each. The boys could not afford to pay money and it was paid by a kind friend Khorshid Bay Wahba of Old Cairo. Those two boys have since then joined government service one Zarif Bishara, chief Clerk of the Cathedral Survey Office at Alexandria and the other Stawro Antoun Translator in the Ministry of War. Khorshed Bey was a retired Government Irrigation Engineer educated in England and was the proprietor of much land in Old Cairo opposite to what is known now as Kubri El Malik El Salih. He was interested in our school and used to attend our annual school exercises. He occasionally gave financial aid secretly to some of the parents of our school boys and often sent patients to the hospital to be treated at his own expense.


The School manifested a missionary spirit in three ways: (1) Sunday School (2) Visiting (3) Village Evangelism.


Visiting: The teachers together with Mr. McIntyre were kept in touch with parents of the school boys by making visits once a week. Those regular visits strengthened the bond of friendship between the school and the parents and was one of the means of getting them to come to church just as the medical itineration in the villages developed the medical work immensely and led to the institution of the Hospital in Menouf.


Evangelism: A friend interested in the work of the Society, sir Mathew Dodsworth used to visit Egypt every winter and stayed in the Grand Hotel at Helwan, he helped by teaching English in the School and in the mean time he started a scheme for preaching the Gospel in the village of Old Helwan and for teaching the donkey boys at Helwan how to read Arabic. Two of the teachers volunteered for this work and on Saturdays their only free day, they used to go to Helwan by train from Old Cairo and from there proceeds on donkeys to the village accompanied by Sir Mathew with a doctor and some medicines. Sir Mathew bore all the expenses and the cost of medicine and Gospel stories etc.


Tourists: The situation of the school made it easy for tourists to have a look at it. It was situated at the junction of two roads where tourists had to get off and cross the Nile branch in a ferry to the Roda Island المنيل to see the Nilometer one of the sights to be seen by tourists. They were attracted by the boys singing hymns and very often when there was a great number of them seen from the window of the school coming in the road we sang “God save the King” applied to an Arabic hymn with the accomplishment of the violin when they suddenly stop and enter the school where they visit the classes and hear some recitations in English. They showed their interest and often dropped donations in the missionary box.


It is worth mentioning here that one of our school boys, a Jew called Jack Cohen who is now an agent of a commercial firm in Cairo has, since he graduated from the school and took up business, been paying regularly 5 pounds every year as a token of gratitude to the medical mission addressed to Dr. Lasbrey (I received this information from Dr. Lasbrey himself). The boy must have been feeling his debt to the hospital as all the boys of the school received medical treatment for nothing. The procedure adopted in those days was to send those boys whom we thought needed treatment up to the hospital with a note from the headmaster. The boys took pride in marching in twos to the hospital where they were given facilities and attended to as quickly as possible to return to school. The School was noted for its annual exercises “haflas” which were held some times in a pavilion and attended by the Police Commandant and notables of Old Cairo in addition to the parents and one or two representatives of newspapers. Policemen were stationed at the door to keep order while recitations, dialogues, addresses and distribution of prizes were going on.


H.H. The Khedivs: When H. H. the Ex Khedivs Abbas Hilmy Pasha inagurated the Sahal at Old Cairo, the school which was in his way was ornamented with flowers and palm branches. The boys and the teachers stood outside the school on both sides of the road awaiting the passing of the Khedive with his cabinet when the procession approached we sang the Khadivial anthem with the accompaniment of the violin while one of our small boys proceeded to H.H. and handed over an Arabic poem beautifully written on a gilded paper. That small boy is now Girgis Bay Beladi, Director Administrative service of the Government Lands Department.


Rev. J.L. Macintyre

The late Rev. Macintyre did a great deal of work both for the school and for the church at Old Cairo.


The teachers loved him so much that one of them, Soliman Ghabriyal Safangi called his first baby son “Macintyre” after Mr. Macintyre’s name. That baby is now Dr. Farid Safangi a graduate of Germany and the father is a retired official of the Sudan Government. He was humorous; he did his best to mix with the Egyptians and wore a Tarboush for some time in order to please them. He used to cycle to Cairo and the first day he put on his “Tarboush” and was cycling back to Old Cairo in the evening without a lamp on the bicycle. The policemen summoned him to alight and to pay a contravention of PT 15 whereas when he was wearing his hat he was never treated roughly like that. Mr. Macintyre was transferred to Palestine where he died a victim of his duty; having contracted cold when he was leaving his quarter to preach in another village.


We used to have prayers meetings for the teachers which were also attended by some of the missionaries, in one of the rooms of the school. In one of these meetings I did a foolish thing which I should not have done. We had a visitor in the meeting who said a very long prayer. I was kneeling down against a chair and during the prayer I put my head through the circular bar at the back of the chair. At last the long prayer came to an end and we all began to say the Lord’s Prayer which was to bring the meeting to a close. I tried in vain to extricate my head by fortunately I was near the door and seeing no other way out of the difficulty, I slipped out quietly with the chair round my neck before the meeting broke up. Later Mr. Macintyre came and relieved me of the chair.


Mr. Toop: After Mr. Macintyre there came the Rev. Arthur James Toop who arrived in 1902 and took charge of the Cairo Boys School for some time afterwards, it was entrusted to an English man who was not a missionary and who did not devote himself to the work and the school had to be discontinued and attention was directed to develop the Old Cairo Boys School and this was entrusted to Mr. Toop under whose able administration and watchfulness, the school entered upon a new era in the arenas of teaching. The old days of hiring buildings in a far from ideal environment is over. The school has its own land in an airy and spacious point in Roda Island equipped with modern apparatus, with grounds for tennis, football, basket ball and other games, none of which was known to the school in its earlier history. Rev. and Mrs. Toop being residents in the premises, the school advanced year after year from a day school it became boarding as well, from Primary it became secondary with marked success in Government Examinations for educational certificates – from primitive water supply deposited in jars and zers and imported direct from the Nile in Goat skin to properly filtered water in pipes and hanfyyas with up to date sanitary arrangements.   Improvements are introduced and better achievements and higher education attained (here we must not forget Dr. Lasbrey’s hard work towards getting the land and erecting the magnificent buildings of the school). Before Mr. Toop’s regime the teachers taught while sitting on their chairs in classes but when he took charge they had to do so standing.


I am sure there is lot to be said about the progress of the school under Mr. Troop but this is all known to you. I, myself, do not know as I have not been in contact besides I am only speaking about past history.


Cairo Girls School

About this school I don’t know much as I have not been in contact with it. Miss. Bywater and Miss Western can tell you all about it. All I can say is that I caused trouble to Miss Bywater by bargaining with her about the fees of my sisters. I mention this to show how patient she was and how much she must have suffered in dealing with parents of the girls who did not pay much attention to regulations. It was difficult for Miss Bywater to refuse obliging others even at her own cost.


Miss Western: played an important part in the work of this school. She is known for her straight forwardness, frankness and impartiality, her name is well known to the earlier graduates. Whenever a girl felt wronged or had any complaint she would resort to Miss Western to interfere and have the grievances redressed.


Mrs. Bywater: A tribute here is due to the late good Mrs. Bywater, she was the mother of the parish. There was no sorrow in the parish which she did not share. Was there sickness, her hand smoothed the pillow and soothed the pain. Was there trouble anywhere her face brought light to the door way. Did any suffer ill repute her word helped to restore the ruined name.


Girls School at Old Cairo

In the earlier days of the school the lady missionaries who took charge of it did not stay long when they got married. It was first taken charge of by Miss Eva Jackson, who became Mrs. Hall and then by the late Miss Waller who became the first Mrs. Lasbrey and afterwards by Miss Greer who became Mrs. Macintyre. Those ladies got married, one after the other and the school had to be left without a superintendent for some time owing to the shortage of staff. The only lady missionary available at that time was Miss Mary Cay an elderly woman engaged purely in evangelistic work in Old Cairo and Mr. Adeney thought he had better put Miss Cay in charge of this school, however this did not take place and she remained in her work. The evangelistic activities of the late Miss Cay terminated in establishing the C.M.S. station at Shubra Zanga where she lived and worked with Miss Lewis. Miss Lewis was so interested in Miss Cay’s work that she gave up her profession as artist and joined the mission and is still carrying out Miss Cay’s work.


Miss Waller: Was distinguished for her high education and talent in music. She played the harmonium and the harp. Singing in her time was improved both in the school and the church. She was highly esteemed by all who knew her. She gave liberally to the poor and needy. In times of calamities and bereavements Miss Waller was the first to be seen sitting with the women and talking to them. She was known as الست الطويلة the tall lady who used to sit with the women and girls on a mat on the ground as one of them. Her premature death was sorely felt by all.


Miss Jackson

Before Miss Waller the girl’s school was in charge of Miss Eva Jackson for a long time. She played a most important part in the mission work in Old Cairo and in the Sudan after she was married and had to go there with her husband the late Dr. Chorely Hall. About her work in Sudan I can not say anything but I heard a great deal (as undoubtedly you also heard) of the glorious work carried out by Dr. and Mrs Hall. I heard something about her Sudanese orphan girls whom she is bringing up in her house and looking after. She was so attached to them that when she left the Sudan on sick leave she had to cut short her holidays and return to Sudan when there was no other lady missionary available to take charge of then during her absence. Once she was traveling with them in a boat on the Nile and one of them fell into the river; only her head appeared and the boatman thought she was a goat and did not care to stop. Mrs Hall ordered them to stop the boat at once and the girl was saved amidst the amazement of the boatman that the boat should be stopped for such a little goat.


She was proverbial in visiting in the houses of the parents of the girls. As she was living in the old hospital (in Osman Serri’s house) she was in touch with the patients and their relatives whom she also was in the habit of visiting. It was not unusual to see Miss Jackson on Saturdays going about, threading her way through the poor quarter in Old Cairo with a bag in her hand in which there were bottles containing milk and soup to distribute among the poor and sick. She studied the habits of the country so well that she was safe from criticism and she worked hard at Arabic. I gave her lessons for several months and my fees were accumulated for me at my request and before she went to England on leave with her husband I asked her to buy for me a small harmonica with the money I saved which she did and brought the harmonica with her from England. Mr. Adeney knew of this because later on when a head master was needed for the Cairo Boys School he said to me that he would have given me the job had I not proved to be a boy still because when I saved some money I went and bought a music with it. However I did not suffer by loosing that job. It proved for my good. All things work together for good, because fortunately the gentleman who was brought specially from Syria to fill the post has become my father in law, as not long after his arrival I was married to his beautiful daughter in 1900.


Girls Training school

Miss Thora Harriot Bird 1901 was in charge of the girls educational section both in Cairo and in Old Cairo. She was a capable educationalist. The late Canon Gairdner used to call her السيدة العظيمة the great lady. To improve the schools, she introduced modern methods of teaching. She proposed training classes where teachers for girls and boys will be taught how to teach. Most of the Egyptian teachers objected to the idea and said that it was against their dignity as teachers already to be taught how to teach as if they were still pupils. However the scheme was put into force and some Egyptian teachers joined the classes with all the missionaries connected with the schools and specimen lessons were given in turn each giving a lesson in one class after which criticism and remarks were discussed. The class room was ornamented with illustrious wall pictures of animals and objects. Among the missionaries who attended the classes and gave lessons were : Miss Bird, Miss Welsh (now Mrs. Toop) Miss Bawly (now Mrs Foster ), Mr Gairdner and Mr. Toop. Mrs. Toop who was a qualified and excellent teacher played an important part in this work as also in teaching in the girls school and later in the boys school with her husband. Miss Bird used to encourage the Egyptian teachers. Once she joked with a junior teacher who was asked to give a lesson on the “Elephant” but was hesitating to do so. She said to him – it is very easy- you describe the animal so and so and when you describe the feet and hoofs say they make a delicious soap. During the time of Miss Bird a day school for girls was opened in sharia Mohaned Ali. Sharia Mohamed Ali was the shrine of C.M.S. The late Rev. D. M. Thornton worked untiringly in finding the place and asking the necessary repairs and equipments particularly the sanitary arrangements and tried to make the school as good as can be in all respects.


We had a big leaflet on the occasion of the inauguration of the school. Among those present were late Sheikh Ali Ussf editor of El Mulayyd newspaper which was then the “Times of Egypt” and late Gindi Bey Ibrahim the editor of Al Wattan newspaper (Coptic). Addresses on the education of the girls were delivered and the visitors were shown around the school. With the lack of tact on the part of some of those in charge of the “hafla” the visitors were shown to the kitchen and other offices at which they were offended and left the hafla earlier than expected.


A severe blow fell on the Mission in 1913 by the death of Dr. Earnest Maynard Pain M.B. CH.M. (Sydney)


He joined the mission in 1902 and died on February 12, 1913. The following is an extract from the Egyptian Gazette of February 13, 1913 (Independent): We regret to announce the death, after sudden, short and acute illness of Dr. E.M. Pain of the Church Missionary Society’s Hospital at Old Cairo, early on the morning of the 12th inst. The circumstances of this event by which his society is bereaved of a brilliant worker and the British Community, of a man of great distinction and highest character for the disease that carried him off (Cerebral Spinal Meningitis) after an illness of only 30 hours, was contracted from an Egyptian patient in the Hospital who was suffering from the same terrible complaint he, thus fell in and through the performance of his duty (laetus morte sua). When Dr. Pain decided in 1901 to offer for the work of medical missionary he deliberately sacrificed what gave certain promise of being a distinguished and successful career as a medical man in Australia. Born in 1875 he studied and took a brilliant degree at Sydney University, being afterwards appointed in spite of his youth to the important post of medical superintendant at the great Sydney hospital, the Prince Alfred. During his student days he came in contact with the Christian movement at Sydney University and had taken a very leading part in it. He had become a “Student missionary volunteer” i.e. had declared his intention even when professional success was assured, he never for a moment answered. He arrived in Egypt in 1902 and at that time was with his Colleague Dr. Kasbery taken the leading part in the building up of the great medical work of his society at Old Cairo. His skill as a physician and surgeon became known by Egyptians far and near while his appointment as an examiner in Anatomy at the medical school at Kasr El Aini showed that his professional attainments were equally appreciated in the highest quarter. To these attainments he added a character of singular worth and personal charm which gave him a great influence over his Egyptian fellow-workers, the fellahin and others who came under his care and the enquirers and converts immediately in contact with him. By all these, as was touching manifest at the funeral Tuesday afternoon, his untimely death at the height of power and usefulness is deeply deplored. With the great crowd of his Egyptian friends, both Christians and Mohammedans who attended the funeral, there were numbers of missionary colleagues from several Societies and many of his professional brethren and other members of the British Community. This was the first adult burial in the new cemetery of the C.M.S. in Old Cairo which was consecrated by Bishop Gwynee on November 20 last year. Dr. Pain was the eldest son of the eldest son of Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.


Before I end, I find no better conclusion than quoting the passage of our prayer for the whole state Christ’s Church militant here in the earth, which says “We also, bless the Holy Name of all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear, beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow their good example that with them, we may be partakers of Thy Heavenly Kingdom”

Atallah Athanasius


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