A previous article talked about Pope MorcosIbnZara’a, the seventy-third patriarch of Alexandria, of Syriac origin, the righteous, the chaste and the pious man who was ordained patriarch during the era of Caliph Al-Adid Li-Din Allah, the last successor of the Fatimid state in Egypt. He was a contemporary of Ministers Asad Al-Din and his nephew, Salah al-Din, the rule of the Fatimids over Egypt came to an end with the death of Caliph Al-Adid, Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi assumed the power.
At the beginning of the rule of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, the Christians suffered greatly of insults and the destruction of their churches. As for Pope MorcosIbnZara’a, he devoted himself to prayer in the face of these adversities until the Sultan’s heart changed towards them. It was mentioned about Pope MorcosIbnZara’a that after being stable in his position, he faithfully performed his duties towards his flock, resisting the heresies that emerged in his era, which also witnessed the wars of the Franks. He departed peacefully in 1189 AD, after assuming the See of Saint Mark for nearly 22 years and a half,he was succeeded by Pope Youhanna VI.
Sultan Salah al-Din IbnAyyub (567- 589 AH) (1171- 1193 AD)
It came to happen after the death of Caliph Al-Adid that Salah al-Din carried to his house the clothes, jewels, gold and silver that appealed to him and his women, and sold the books, utensils and other things he did not need. As for the children and concubines of the former Caliph, he put them in Dar Al-Muzaffar in the Burjuan area in Cairo, guards were set up to prevent entry and exit. Salah al-Din gathered everyone who was related to the former caliph; it was mentioned about them: “As for the family and relatives, and all men who belonged to them, he gathered two hundred men and more… He placed iron chains on their feet that prevented them from moving, and he assigned men to protect them, and gave them enough sustenance. So when the residents of Cairo and Egypt entered for them with alms, he cut off his sustenance provided, so they lived on these alms only, until many of them died in their chains and were buried with their chains.”While the servants and slaves were sold.
In 573 AH (1177 AD), Salah al-Din ordered the abolition of all taxes from the Egyptian lands on all Egyptians, Muslims and Copts, but he received news that some of the country’s princes kept collecting taxes from the people of their countries, and he was then at the Levant fighting against the invaders, so he wrote a letter to his brother, Al-Malek Al-Adel, asking him to stop collecting taxes from the people.
Ibnal-Atheer mentioned that in 567 AH (1171 AD) the relationship between Nur al-Din and Salah al-Din became apathetic due to events that occurred during the Frankish war. Salah al-Din led a military campaign to seize the Castle of Shoubak (120 km south of Al-Karak and 35 km north of Petra) and besieged it tightly. The Franks asked him for a ten-day-term, and he accepted. When that news reached Nur al-Din, he led his army from Damascus to the Franks to fight them on the other hand, so Salah al-Din was told to return to Egypt: “If Nur al-Din entered the land of the Franks while they were in this state – you on the one hand and Nur al-Din on the other hand- he would seize it, and when the king of the Franks is removed from the road, you will not be left in the lands of Egypt standing with Nur al-Din; and when Nur al-Din comes to you while you are there, you must meet with him; and then he will be in control of you. If he wills, he will leave you, and if he wills, he will dismiss you, and you will not be able to refrain from him, and in that case, the interest will be to return to Egypt.” So Salah El-Din returned to Egypt, citing the imbalance of its affairs and the inevitability of returning to it to restore its stability. Nur El-Din did not accept Salah El-Din’s excuse and changed his stance towards him, and decided to enter Egypt and dismiss Salah El-Din from it; this news reached Salah El-Din and … Stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center