Friday, 17 November 2017

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt


Frank Gardner reports from Egypt on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, covering the plight of Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt, including an interview with His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London, and the grandfather of Maggie who was killed in a terrorist attack.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09drjpr Video footage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-middle-east-42020135/coptic-christian-i-forgive-the-people-who-killed-my-granddaughter-maggie 


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Announcement: HG Bishop Angaelos proclaimed Bishop over new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London during historic service in Egypt

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HG Bishop Angaelos proclaimed Bishop over new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London during historic service in Egypt



16 November 2017

On 11 November 2017 His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Proclaimed His Grace Bishop Angaelos as Bishop of the new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London during a service at St Bishoy Monastery in Wadi-El-Natroun, Egypt.

With the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London, two new dioceses were established: HG Bishop Karass was Proclaimed Bishop of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia, and HG Bishop Marc was Proclaimed as Bishop of Paris and the North of France. 
        
On Sunday 12 November, four monks were consecrated bishops: two monks from Saint Shenouda Monastery in Milan, Fr Giovanni and Fr Antonio, were consecrated as bishops of Mid-Europe and Milan respectively; Fr Seraphim El-Souriani was consecrated as Bishop of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana; and father Pigol Al-Muharraqi was consecrated as Bishop and Abbot of Al-Muharraq Monastery in Assiut.


Bishop Angaelos, formerly the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, will travel back to England accompanied by a delegation of Metropolitans and Bishops who will formally enthrone him as the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of London during a vespers service in the Coptic Cathedral of Saint George at The Coptic Centre later in the month. 


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Announcement: HG Bishop Angaelos to be enthroned as first Bishop of new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London

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Announcement
HG Bishop Angaelos to be enthroned as first Bishop of new
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London



31 October 2017

HH Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, have decided on the establishment of the new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London, and to entrust HG Bishop Angaelos as the first Diocesan Bishop of London.
The Proclamation of this new appointment will be made by His Holiness the Pope and the Holy Synod at a service in Cairo on 11 November 2017.
Bishop Angaelos will travel back to England, accompanied by a delegation of Metropolitans and Bishops who will formally enthrone him during a vespers service in the Coptic Cathedral of Saint George at The Coptic Centre later in the month.

*Ends*

Background:

The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, dates back to 10 August 1954 when it commenced its pastoral and liturgical ministry in London. In February 1969, a historic Liturgy was celebrated in London by the then Bishop Shenouda, the late Pope Shenouda III, who encouraged the faithful to hold regular services, which subsequently led to the hiring of St Andrew’s church in Holborn. Copts would gather from across the United Kingdom to pray there until 1978 when, returning to London as Pope Shenouda III, His Holiness consecrated St Mark church in Kensington as the first Coptic Orthodox parish in Europe.   

Since then, the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland has become an active member of its respective local, regional and national communities, serving in a variety of ways across the four nations, equipping its faithful to be positively contributing and active members in their local settings. At the core of its pastoral care is a focus on Christian education at every level and an active youth ministry. The Coptic Orthodox Church also serves on a wider level through engaging in a variety of benevolent and advocacy related work.      

The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland now has approximately 20,000 faithful across 32 parishes, with the number of these parishes constantly increasing. These have thus far been served by three dioceses: the diocese of Birmingham, the Midlands and its affiliated regions, served by HG Bishop Missael, the Diocese of Scotland, Ireland and North East England, served by HG Bishop Antony, and the Papal Diocese covering London, the South of England and South Wales, in which HG Bishop Angaelos has served as His Holiness the Pope’s delegate since 1999.  

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church have now decided to establish the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London.



Friday, 20 October 2017

Report: At annual Coptic Nayrouz Service, HG Bishop Angaelos addresses religious freedom violations around the world

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REPORT


At annual Coptic New Year celebration,
HG Bishop Angaelos addresses religious freedom violations around the world

 [View photographs from the service via www.Flickr.com/CopticMedia]


19 October 2017  

On 17 October 2017, messages from Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, were read at the Coptic New Year (Nayrouz) Service held annually in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey.

Addresses were also delivered by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, The Lord Alton of Liverpool, The Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales and The Right Honourable Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and Minister of State for International Development.

A welcome was given by The Reverend Canon Jane Sinclair, Canon of Westminster & Rector of St Margaret’s, and the service was officiated by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

In his sermon, which focused on the prospect of new beginnings, Bishop Angaelos said:
“As we celebrate the lives of the faithful, we have a chance to start afresh, and to look at any opportunity for a new beginning of any sort.
It is important for us to do two things at this juncture: to look, assess, and repeat the wonderful things that have been done, and to look at what may have been left undone; things that may have gone unrealised, unchecked, and unaddressed.”

His Grace went on to say:
“In light of Matthew chapter 9, it is far too easy to attempt to merely patch over issues when they seem too complex to address. We must change our approach and address root causes. This applies of course to us as individuals, as societies, religious institutions, and nations.”

Touching on matters of religious persecution around the world, His Grace said:
“Over these past months, we have seen so much in terms of religious persecution, whether it be in relation to the Coptic Christians in Egypt, Christians in the Middle East, the wider Africa, or around the world, people suffer daily.
Gatherings like this that we take as a simple right, are an impossible and unrealised privilege for some in our world today. So this evening we remember and pray for them, realising that it is important for us to support those who want to believe, whatever their belief is!”

Speaking of religious freedom more generally, he said:
“If God respects humanity enough to empower us all with a freedom of choice, who are we to decide who has the right to believe or not believe?
The Christian message has as its ultimate strength, the ability with which it can consciously and actively love and even forgive those who not only persecute, but kill us. That is what sets this apart. It is not because we are better than anyone else but because it is what we are called to do.” 

Highlighting the diverse nature of British society, he went on to say:
“The gathering in this church this evening resembles the beautiful mosaic that is British life; from religious leaders to political leaders, social activists and human rights defenders, to members of the general public, we all work together. Together we should use whatever platform or gift we have to further this message.

It is a tragedy if we feel there is nothing we can do, because the reality is that there is never a darkness that cannot be broken by the slightest light, and there is never a problem that cannot be addressed even if not fully resolved.”

Closing with a message of hope, from the book of Isaiah 43:19, he concluded:
“Today we can be confident that God will always be our Way along even the loneliest of journeys, and He will always be the spring of life in the most oppressive drought.”

In his address, Lord Bourne spoke of the engagement of the Coptic Orthodox community in the United Kingdom, highlighting various ministries including youth work, and homeless ministries.

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who recently celebrated the Jewish New Year, said the following in his address:
“I stand here, a Rabbi from the Jewish community from a fellow faith, in solidarity…

…Therefore in these painful and frightening times when so many of these relationships are ruptured and require our urgent and prolonged keen attention we must remember our purpose here on earth, and together articulate our shared faith, hopes and tasks, not just in our places of prayer but in the public square and in the media. Together we must act for the well-being of every individual human for we all carry God’s sacred spirit and all in a differing, unique and special way.”

The Lord Alton of Liverpool spoke of religious freedom violations, calling for the same rights for all, saying:
“As Bishop Angaelos reminded us earlier, [religious freedom] is not just something we demand for the Coptic community but for all…

…In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Article 18 it spells out the right of every human being on this planet to believe, not to believe, or to change their belief. Well it is with this in mind that we gather here tonight to show our solidarity with an ancient Church, which plays both an integral part of Egyptian life but also a much loved part of British life and society.

It is because of the power of the Cross, not knives and guns and bombs, that we gather here tonight. It is for that reason, despite tragedy and sadness that we can commemorate and celebrate the new year and commit ourselves to continue to work for values based on mutual respect, co-existence and freedom of religion or belief.”

The Right Honourable Alistair Burt MP, spoke of the beauty and diversity of the Middle East and the people of all faiths within its region, while also highlighting the struggles faced by many within it, saying:
“There are many joys in returning to the role of Minister for the Middle East, to share a bit of time in the region I have come to love and to value its diversity and culture, the things that are not often spoken of in the news; to share as a person of faith the opportunity to listen to the sounds of the Middle East, in mosque, in synagogue and in church and to recognise that the ear picks up much that is similar between the sounds of those of those who worship, to recognise a common humanity in its spirituality searching and reaching out for God.”

Going on to speak about the powerful impact of forgiveness, and human compassion shared by people of all faiths in the midst of persecution, he concluded:
“…As we celebrate Naryouz with you, and we remember the martyrs, we reflect on what you have said for a new opportunity that we have, let it be a new opportunity not just for the region but for the world to reflect a bit more, to build dialogue, to end the conflicts between faiths, so that as we gather year by year we will have less to regret, and forgive and more to celebrate and be joyful about.”

Joining members of the Coptic community at the service were international royalty, members of the House of Lords, the Office of the Prime Minister, House of Commons, the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the Diplomatic Corps, the Home Office, humanitarian and advocacy organisations, and various ecumenical, and inter-religious guests.

*Ends*


 View photographs from the service via www.Flickr.com/CopticMedia

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos regarding the brutal murder of Coptic Orthodox priest Fr Samaan in Cairo

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Coptic Orthodox priest brutally murdered in Cairo
Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
12 October 2017  

Another day in Egypt with another Coptic Christian murdered; this time a priest from Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, who was in Cairo collecting humanitarian aid for vulnerable members of his parish. Fr Samaan was paying a pastoral visit to a family in Cairo and returned to the church where he was earlier to collect his mobile phone. On the way, he was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant who chased him, stabbed him repeatedly, and then brutally killed him.

This incident makes us once again ask so many questions. Why should a priest not be able to walk safely down a street, especially a suburban street in Cairo? Why should he be chased by a man brandishing a deadly weapon and have no one run to his aid; in actual fact, everyone was running away. Why, when he lay drenched in his own blood did the ambulance service not arrive for over an hour, and then not treat him? Why, when the police finally arrived, and he lay dead, was a crime scene not secured and forensic evidence not collected to enable a robust and serious investigation? Why is his assailant immediately deemed mentally incapable without professional diagnosis, and why, if he is incapable, and a known violent criminal, is he left in the community with weapons within his reach? 

After the initial shock and the immense sadness, today is a day that brings anger and I am not apologetic for that anger. I would be just as angry if this was any other person being dealt with in this way, in any other part of Egypt or indeed any other part of the world. Yet he is a Christian, a Coptic Christian, and a Coptic priest, which makes it all the more close and all the more painful.

Just this week I have been with a Coptic delegation from Cairo seeking grants to serve not only the Coptic community but the wider Egyptian community. Grants that would cover health, education and poverty eradication. Where was this wider Egyptian community however when Father Samaan ran terrified through a street being chased by a violent criminal, and where was it when he lay dying and alone? Where was it when the assailant attacked him repeatedly, and where will it be while his family and congregation grieve the loss of their father, husband, brother, pastor and friend? These are questions that need to be addressed at every level of Egyptian community and leadership.

Crime cannot be totally eradicated, but at least it needs to be properly investigated, prosecuted, and shown to be a violation against the whole state and not just its immediate victim.

The immense pain of this incident and all that have preceded it, including: child kidnapping, forced conversion, individual targetting, bus attacks and church bombings against the Coptic Orthodox community in Egypt, leads us to hold more strongly onto the words of our Lord God in Exodus 3:7: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry…for I know their sorrows.” Coptic Christians who have endured injustice, persecution, and loss of life for centuries without retaliation, repeatedly forgiving unconditionally, deserve to live with respect and dignity in their indigenous homeland.

While recognising that anger may often open a path to hatred or resentment, there are times at which it is a natural expression of a human emotion, and reaction to a sense of deep injustice. I am sure that I am not alone in my anger, but that it is shared by every law-abiding person of any belief and indeed of none, who has witnessed this vicious and inhumane attack. In the midst of this anger and this sadness however I continue to pray. I pray repose for Father Samaan, I pray for his family, I pray for his community. I pray for the wider Egyptian Christian community that feels more and more vulnerable and targeted daily against a backdrop of negligence and injustice. I pray for the wider Egyptian society, that becomes more and more discredited and compromised as these incidents continue to happen.

This anger is not void of forgiveness, but cries out for accountability and justice. 

*Ends*


For more information please e-mail the Director of Communications via Media@CopticCentre.com

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Press Release: HG Bishop Angaelos, new President of Bible Society

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Press Release: HG Bishop Angaelos, new President of Bible Society


His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, became the new President of Bible Society on 21 September 2017, taking over from Dr Richard Chartres, former Bishop of London, who is retiring after 6 years as our President.

Commenting on his new role, Bishop Angaelos said: 

"I consider it an incredible honour to serve as President of the Bible Society, an institution that has historically served to share the message of hope through the word of God. As I embark on this new journey with colleagues from, and supporters of, the Bible Society, I also recognise the immense contribution of my dear brother and friend, His Grace Bishop Richard Chartres. 

This is a time in which Britain, and our world, needs the hope that can only come from the inspired message of God in the Scriptures, and it is up to us to be a faithful conduit of this life-giving message. I am sincerely committed to the ecumenical life of the Church because I believe in it, and there is nothing that can unite us more than Scripture as we endeavour to be the Body of Christ, and light in the world."

Bible Society’s Chief Executive, Paul Williams, said: 

‘We are profoundly grateful to Richard Chartres for his outstanding service over the past six years.'

He said: 'Bishop Angaelos, and the Coptic Orthodox Church which he represents in the UK, models a deep, prayerful spirituality that is characterised by its attentiveness to Scripture. The love for the Bible that is demonstrated day by day, in all of life, and in the midst of considerable hardship and suffering by Coptic Christians, is a challenge and inspiration for us all.

'With his passion for the work of the church here, particularly amongst young people and the marginalised, and his connection with an ancient Christian community that has suffered throughout its history for its loyalty to Jesus Christ, Bishop Angaelos is perfectly placed to share and promote the vision of Bible Society as it moves into the new work God has for the organisation both at home and abroad.’


For the full press release visit Bible Society's webiste via: http://bit.ly/2fD1a2Y

Friday, 8 September 2017

Rohingya Crisis: Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom

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The Rohingya Crisis
Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom

8 September 2017 

Chilling reports are emerging of the murder, rape and massacre of the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar, and these are a cause for great alarm and concern. 

According to those reports, well over 250,000 women, men and children within the Rohingya community have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in the past two weeks as a result of violence and conflict. Sources state that Rohingya Muslims are denied citizenship in their country, and the persecution they face is not new, but has been occurring for years.            

This disturbing news falls on the all too familiar backdrop of the ongoing refugee crisis which continues to plague millions of people fleeing religious persecution, violence and turmoil in the Middle East, as well as the countless people in places such as Nigeria, Sudan, North Korea and others, who face religious persecution on a daily basis as part of their daily existence.  

As an international community, we must never remain silent in the face of the suffering of those whose basic God-given rights and freedoms are denied, even if those people are thousands of miles away. What is unfortunate, is that these issues often remain in our minds only as long as they frequent our news feeds, and yet the suffering continues whether we acknowledge it or not. In the case of the Rohingya Muslims and the Kachin Christians in Burma, it seems that this situation is ongoing, and by no means recent, but has only made international headlines due to the heightened level of violence and suffering. 

All human suffering is worthy of our attention, and should not be ignored until it is unbearable or seemingly intolerable. In Scripture, Christians are instructed to “Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Psalm 82:3), a task that is ever more needed not just oversees, but often in our immediate families and communities. 


We pray for the safety of all who flee conflict in our world today, for the Rohingya Muslim community as they flee their home country, and for those who seek to find ways to accommodate them and others seeking refuge from persecution around the world. We also pray for governments and all in authority to adhere to and safeguard the basic principles of human rights and freedoms that God has bestowed upon us and entrusted us with, and that our humanity has prided itself on for generations.         

Friday, 14 July 2017

Press Release: Cancellation of Church activities in Egypt following renewed spate of attacks against Christians



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Cancellation of Church activities in Egypt following renewed spate of attacks against Christians

Copyright: Roger Anis
14 July 2017

As a result of direct advice from Egyptian Security Services, Christian denominations have issued directives cancelling conferences and trips throughout July as a precautionary measure.

Since December 2016 there has been a renewed spate of targeted attacks on, and murders of Egyptian Christians, with a reported 117 Coptic Orthodox Christians murdered across the country in that period. This campaign began with the bombing of St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo in December 2016, and followed by Palm Sunday church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, an attack on pilgrims visiting a monastery in Minya, and targeted attacks on individuals across Egypt.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, confirmed these reports, saying:

“Having communicated with colleagues in Cairo, it is obvious that the current campaign of terror against Christians is escalating rapidly. These measures have come after our community has experienced brutal attacks against innocent women, men and children across Egypt, and we pray will help to safeguard against future atrocities.

This unfortunate step comes at a time when children, young people and families will be deprived of the conferences and trips that they so look forward to over the summer period and have grown accustomed to over decades. Saying that however, it is of course more important, while recognising their huge disappointment, to do our best to ensure their safety.

Despite these measures, the ongoing liturgical and pastoral life of the Church will be maintained as she continues to provide daily support for her children.

Here in the United Kingdom, and around the world, we are praying peace and safety for all the people of Egypt at this increasingly challenging time. We also pray that the orchestrators and perpetrators of this deadly wave are rightly brought to justice, and reconciled with their intended God-given humane and merciful nature.”

*Ends*

Resources:

Number of Coptic Christians reportedly murdered in Egypt since December 2016
  • December - February 2017 – 40 Christians killed in total in the bombing of St Peter’s Coptic Church in Cairo, and the targeting of individuals in Cairo and Sinai
  • April 2017 – 43 Christians killed in Tanta and Alexandria church bombings
  • May 2017 - Bus attack in Minya – 28 killed for refusing to recant their Christian Faith
  • July 2017 – 6 Christian individuals murdered in their homes



Saturday, 27 May 2017

Reflection By His Grace Bishop Angaelos on recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and elsewhere

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Reflection
By His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, on recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and elsewhere

You are Loved
27 May 2017

Once again, we find ourselves experiencing pain before which words seem insufficient. I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable. This time however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but YOU are loved.

You are loved by God, your Creator, for He created you in His Image and according to His Likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to His plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, Who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ Himself and Christians, to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves, and all those whom we meet along our path, to a life of virtue and holiness, and the love and forgiveness of all.

This of course, is far from the reaction that many may have expected, but the Christian message is just that, to look at our world as through the eyes of God, Who loves all and Who desires that all be liberated through Him.  

I grieve, certainly for those who have lost their lives, for those who mourn, and for those who will continue to be adversely affected by these tragic experiences; but I also grieve for a young man who sees it not only justifiable, but glorious, to take the lives of other young men and women, and deprive his and their families of enjoying them as they grow and mature. 

No family should lose a son in this way, even if they are partially or wholly responsible for his flawed ideology. This loss might be to that ideology, to incarceration as a result of his actions and choices or, in the worst case, in taking his own life, along with others, regardless of the great cost to those left behind. In the same way, no family deserves to lose children and members who merely go about their day to enjoy their God-given right to exist, whether it be by attending a concert, taking a pilgrimage to a monastery, simply walking through city streets, or in any other way.

I also grieve for those who considered it a victory to board a bus filled with pilgrims and execute children, women and men purely for refusing to renounce their Faith, as we saw happen to Coptic Christians in Menia only yesterday.

What is increasingly obvious is that many of these attacks come about due to a loss of the meaning and comprehension of the sanctity of life, our own or that of others; so join me in praying for the brokenness of our world that causes parents to lose their children, children to lose their parents, and humankind to lose the humanity for which it was created.

What is important is not that this message be read but that it be communicated; not that it be accepted but that it be understood as another perspective; and not that it should be fully embraced, but that it may create at least a shadow of a doubt in the minds of those intent on inflicting harm and pain.




*Ends* 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Press Release: HH Pope Tawadros II received by Her Majesty The Queen, His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, during his first pastoral visit to the United Kingdom

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HH Pope Tawadros II received by Her Majesty The Queen, His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, during his first pastoral visit to the United Kingdom

Left to Right: Her Majesty The Queen, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, His Grace Bishop Angaelos

17 May 2017

On his first pastoral visit, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, has been visiting Coptic Orthodox parishes and meeting with communities across the United Kingdom. Pope Tawadros has also consecrated churches, presided over Liturgies and Vespers services, and addressed hundreds of young people at a Coptic youth gathering.

During his visit, Pope Tawadros II was received by Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle on 9 May. This historic audience with Her Majesty was also attended by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and the Rt Rev David Conner, Dean of Windsor. During the meeting HH Pope Tawadros II presented Her Majesty with a Coptic icon depicting the ‘Flight to Egypt’ of the Holy Family.

After the audience, Bishop Angaelos said:

“This meeting between Her Majesty and His Holiness is an embodiment of our Coptic Orthodox Church here in Britain, made up of those, many of whom will have roots in Egypt, who still feel connected to Egypt, but are very integrated as British Copts. I am personally thankful for this meeting that reinforces this composite and naturally organic identity at the highest level of our Church and nations.”

Photo credit: Coptic Church UK
Shortly after meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, Pope Tawadros was received by His Excellency Mr Nasser Kamel, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Kingdom, at a dinner and reception at the Egyptian Embassy in London. The reception was attended by Coptic clergy and laity, as well as the wider British Egyptian community.

Photo credit: Coptic Church UK
In the days following, Pope Tawadros was the Guest of Honour at a lunch in the Palace of Westminster, hosted by The Rt Revd the Lord Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who spoke in his address about the witness of Christians in the Middle East, saying:
“…we feel deeply united with you and your people in sufferings that you experience, and we pray for you very much. I know that connection extends beyond those who would call themselves Christians, to a solidarity of humanity with you and your people and a huge respect for, to quote another virtue from the Bible, the ‘patient endurance’ that you always express when these difficulties occur and your words of peace.”

The lunch was attended by members of the House of Lords, ecumenical guests and members of the Coptic Orthodox clergy and community in the United Kingdom. Following the lunch, Pope Tawadros laid a wreath at the Recording Angel memorial in Westminster Hall, in honour of PC Keith Palmer, who lost his life in the Westminster attack on 22 March 2017.

Photo credit: Coptic Church UK
During his stay Pope Tawadros received individuals and groups at The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Hertfordshire, including the Coptic Medical Board and the Coptic Partnership for Relief and Development, both established by Bishop Angaelos with members of the Coptic community to ensure the highest level of collaboration for those most in need in Egypt. Among his meetings, His Holiness also received His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.
Photo credit: Lambeth Palace






On Friday 12 May, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was received by The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, at a historic meeting in Lambeth Palace. During the visit, Pope Tawadros met privately with the Archbishop, later joining the rest of the Coptic delegation and ecumenical guests, when addresses were delivered. His Holiness signed the official guestbook with the words ‘Love Never Ends’, and presented a Coptic icon of the ‘Flight to Egypt’ of the Holy Family to Archbishop Justin.



During his address, Pope Tawadros II thanked the Archbishop for his hospitality and said:

“We are grateful to God for the co-operation, dialogue, and Christian love between our two Churches. We are hopeful and pray for more and more Christian unity globally and we believe it is possible through the love of God, and through the ecumenical blood of all Christian martyrs.”

In his address to His Holiness, His Grace the Archbishop commented on the resilient example of Coptic Christians in Egypt, saying:

“The experience of the Coptic people in Egypt is not only an example to the Body of Christ around the world, but also a profound inspiration. The courage of your people – their constant faith, their steadfastness, their long endurance – brings to life those words we read so often in the epistles of Saint Paul, and we are truly grateful and give thanks to God for you and for your people.”

Picture(s) by : Westminster Abbey/Picture Partnership.
Following the meeting at Lambeth Palace, the two Church leaders and their delegations, attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey at the invitation of the Dean of Westminster Rev Dr John Hall, walking side by side during the procession, and praying together at the shrine of St Edward the Confessor.

Evensong was followed by a general meeting led by His Holiness the Pope, with members of the Coptic community, in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey. The Pope gave a sermon and presented gifts to members of the community. Before the meeting, Pope Tawadros was officially welcomed by the Dean of Westminster who spoke of his solidarity with the plight of Christians in the Middle East and in Egypt, and spoke of unity, saying:

“The cause of unity between Christians is something which is dear to us and immensely precious. It is wonderful that in this 21st Century, relations between all the Churches, develop so strongly and warmly together, and Your role, Your Holiness, in convening leaders of the Churches including Pope Francis and others has been an example to all of us.”
Photo by Mark Kessler
Photo by Mr Sami Gabriel
On 17 May, His Holiness the Pope, accompanied by Bishop Angaelos, was received by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Clarence House. In December 2013, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was received by Bishop Angaelos at The Coptic Centre in Stevenage for the first time, as part of a series of visits in which he sought to highlight the plight of Christians in the Middle East. His Royal Highness continues to be supportive in response to the suffering of Christian and minority groups in the region. 
At the commencement of the visit, an official vespers service was held in his honour at the Coptic Cathedral of Saint George in Hertfordshire. The event was held on 6 May 2017, and attended by members of the House of Lords, the Diplomatic Corps, the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, humanitarian and advocacy organisations, and various ecumenical and inter-religious guests.

Commenting on the visit as a whole, His Grace Bishop Angaelos said:

“It has been a blessing for the Coptic community here in the United Kingdom to engage with their shepherd. It was also an opportunity for His Holiness to meet his flock and to encounter some of the work being done under the various ministries within the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

I am thankful that the visit was fruitful and gave His Holiness an overview of the diverse and dynamic role of Coptic Christians across Britain who endeavour to live faithfully according to their Christian principles, while being fully integrated into their surrounding community. I am also pleased that we had the opportunity to learn from the example of peaceful yet powerful resilience that His Holiness and our brothers and sisters in Egypt demonstrate on a daily basis.” 
Photo by Michael Hani

More photographs available via www.Flickr.com/CopticMedia (Many more photographs and videos will become available over the coming weeks)