Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Press Release from the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the departure of Sherif Habib

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Press Release from the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the departure of Sherif Habib

27 April 2016

During this Holy Week, our whole community is shocked and saddened by the news of the departure of one of our young men, Sherif Habib. His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, called personally to convey his condolences to Sherif’s family and the Coptic community in London. His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, accompanied by Father Thomas Ghobrial, made a pastoral visit to the family yesterday.

Speaking after his visit with Sherif’s parents, Bishop Angaelos said:

“The loss of any life brings sadness, but the loss of a young man who had just completed his studies and was embarking on the next stage of his life is especially tragic. We pray repose for Sherif and comfort for his family, who are understandably experiencing great pain at this time, as well as for his friends and wider community. We are also reminded during this Holy Week, and as we approach the Feast of the Resurrection, that our hope is in the Risen Lord, and so we pray that He comfort Sherif’s family and all who mourn this tragic loss.”

Their Excellencies the Egyptian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Consul-General in London have visited the family to express their condolences. Egyptian officials in London were initially contacted by a priest of one of our London parishes at the request of the family.

Due to the ongoing official investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service in London, there are no further details at this time.  

At this difficult time and in this period of mourning, press and media are asked to respect the privacy of the family.

*Ends*









Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos on the upcoming Genocide debate in the House of Commons

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Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom on the upcoming Genocide debate in the House of Commons

19 April 2016

With the recent welcomed recognition by the European Parliament and the United States Congress and Administration of ‘acts of genocide’ against Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities in Syria and Iraq, the upcoming House of Commons debate on this matter will be looked upon with anticipation by many.

As the issue of genocide is deliberated upon in light of the genuine suffering of vulnerable men, women and children, we pray wisdom upon all those taking part in the debate.

If the British Parliament recognises these violations as genocide, along with other parliamentary bodies around the world, this will allow an essential co-ordinated approach across the international community for the protection of the sanctity and dignity of God-given human life.

While appreciative of all that continues to be done around the world, including this upcoming debate, the solution at the heart of the issue is a realisation of the value of every life. This is why we not only pray for those who fall victim to these crimes, but for those who continue to carry them out, that there is a greater understanding of our shared humanity and the pain and loss that is caused to us all through the taking of any life.

*Ends*

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Comment by HG Bishop Angaelos on the emergence of revelations relating to the Archbishop of Canterbury

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Comment by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom on the emergence of revelations relating to the Archbishop of Canterbury

9 April 2016

The emergence of revelations relating to our dear brother Archbishop Justin and his family remind us of the vulnerability of anyone who takes public office, and more so those who are called to public ministry. These revelations would have been startling and painful enough for any individual and his family to learn and process, but to have them revealed and discussed so publicly will need a very particular grace. Thankfully however, we know that this grace is in no short supply in the lives of Archbishop Justin and his family.

In his personal statement on the matter, Archbishop Justin writes:

‘I have had a life of great blessing and wonderful support, especially from Caroline and our children, as well as a great many wonderful friends and family. My own experience is typical of many people. To find that one's father is other than imagined is not unusual. To be the child of families with great difficulties in relationships, with substance abuse or other matters, is far too normal.  

This revelation has, of course, been a surprise, but in my life and in our marriage Caroline and I have had far worse. I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes. Even more importantly my role as Archbishop makes me constantly aware of the real and genuine pain and suffering of many around the world, which should be the main focus of our prayers.  

Although there are elements of sadness, and even tragedy in my father's (Gavin Welby’s) case, this is a story of redemption and hope from a place of tumultuous difficulty and near despair in several lives. It is a testimony to the grace and power of Christ to liberate and redeem us, grace and power which is offered to every human being.  

At the very outset of my inauguration service three years ago, Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a young member of the Canterbury Cathedral congregation, said: “We greet you in the name of Christ. Who are you, and why do you request entry?” To which I responded: “I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God to travel with you in His service together.” What has changed? Nothing!’

I know that it is unconventional to quote such a long passage from another’s statement, but I found the archbishop’s to be very moving indeed, and indicative of the peace, love, forgiveness and resolve that we are not only all called to, but all endowed with if we but allow God’s healing, reconciling and comforting presence in our lives. This is of course also indicative of the personable and ‘real’ character we have all come to know to be Justin Welby, who, I am confident, will have this experience further enrich his ministry of compassion.

We pray for Archbishop Justin and his family, and particularly his mother, as they deal with this challenging time, and for all those unknown to us who must go through similar experiences every day, but who may not be so supported. We also pray healing for every pain, reconciliation for every struggle, and hope for every apparently hopeless situation.

*Ends*


Friday, 1 April 2016

Press Release: HG Bishop Angaelos conferred the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by HG the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace days after receiving the Coventry Cross of Nails at Coventry Cathedral

HG Bishop Angaelos conferred the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by HG the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace days after receiving the Coventry Cross of Nails at Coventry Cathedral

1 April 2016

The Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism was conferred upon His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, on 31 March 2016 at Lambeth Palace. The Lambeth Cross has been the highest honour bestowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1939 and is conferred to distinguished hierarchs who have rendered exceptional services to the cause of Christian unity.

Speaking directly to Bishop Angaelos in an interview after conferring him with the Lambeth Cross the Archbishop said:

“My encounter with Orthodoxy through you has been a really profound experience in my life. It has changed much of my understanding of what the Church is universally. I have never had that much engagement with Orthodoxy, and certainly not with Coptic Orthodoxy. I found a completely different understanding, a much deeper sense of being drawn into the Body of Christ, and this is a recognition of the importance of your role in presenting to the United Kingdom and to the Church that we belong to one another in Christ.”

Speaking of the effect of his encounter with Orthodoxy, Archbishop Justin went on to say:

[this] has been a major step forward in my own spiritual journey, and His Grace has been a major feature in that; and it is part of what he has done in England across many communities, including of course with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.”

In response to the Archbishop’s comments, Bishop Angaelos said:

“This has been a wonderful time for a great partnership. The fact that there is an opportunity to work with Your Grace, with the Church of England, and with the Anglican Communion worldwide to advocate for others is wonderful because it comes at a time at which we must stand together. Your Grace and the Church of England have been very vocal on these issues, along with, as you mentioned, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It is time for us to speak collaboratively and powerfully. It is only by the world seeing us standing together and witnessing that what we have in common is more than what separates us, that it realises that we have common ground, especially for those who are not so privileged as we are to speak.”           

The ceremony was followed by evensong in the Archbishop’s Chapel and a reception in the Guard room, after which Bishop Angaelos said:

“I am honoured and humbled to receive the Lambeth Cross from His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. I believe this is a crucial time for us to work and witness together as Churches, Christian leaders and Christians as a whole, to send a more positive and encouraging message of who we are and what we stand for, and to speak for those who struggle here in Britain, in the Middle East and around the world. We are very fortunate to have strong ecumenical ties in Britain, and a visible unity and collaboration that makes the Church relevant and its input effective, and for this we must all be extremely thankful.”

Going on to say:

“At a time of increasing challenge and darkness, when there appears to be no hope, and those who threaten us appear to be stronger, our hope and strength lies well and truly in our unity, in our shared vision, and in our commitment to do what we can, not only for ourselves but for the world around us.”

Photographs above by Martin R Williams
Earlier in the week, after having preached at the Easter Sunday Coventry Cathedral service at the invitation of the Bishop of Coventry, His Grace Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop Angaelos was also awarded the Coventry Cross of Nails in recognition of his work on reconciliation by the Dean of Coventry Cathedral, the Very Reverend John Witcombe. The Coventry Cross of Nails is recognised throughout the world as a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Although it has been awarded to hundreds of charities and organisations over many years, it is only rarely presented to individuals.

Commenting on the week, Bishop Angaelos said:

“Building bridges, forging relationships and engaging in partnership and collaboration is something I believe we must all be committed to on a daily basis. I am thankful to be surrounded by many good friends with whom I work so closely and am honoured to have received this recognition from not only the ‘Archbishop of Canterbury’, the ‘Bishop of Coventry’, and the ‘Dean of Coventry’ but from dear friends and brothers in a shared ministry and witness.”

These two awards were preceded by Bishop Angaelos being conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for ‘Services to International Religious Freedom’ by Her Majesty The Queen in 2015. These three awards represent three core components of His Grace’s ministry: Ecumenism, Reconciliation and Religious Freedom, alongside his pastoral and youth ministry. 


*Ends*


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

HG Bishop Angaelos awarded Coventry Cross of Nails at Easter Sunday Coventry Cathedral service for his work on reconciliation


Photographs above by Martin R Williams
After having preached at the Easter Sunday Coventry Cathedral service at the invitation of the Bishop of Coventry, His Grace Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, was awarded the Coventry Cross of Nails in recognition of his work on reconciliation by the Dean of Coventry Cathedral, The Very Reverend John Witcombe.

The Coventry Cross of Nails is recognised throughout the world as a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Although it has been awarded to hundreds of charities and organisations over many years, it is only rarely presented to individuals.

Monday, 21 March 2016

HG Bishop Angaelos to receive The Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism from HG The Archbishop of Canterbury

In a press release issued by The Church of England today, it was announced that His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom would be receiving The Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism from The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby. Read the Press Release HERE.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos following the United States State Department declaration of Genocide for Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and other minorities in the Middle East

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Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the United States State Department declaration of Genocide for Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and other minorities in the Middle East

17 March 2016

We have received very welcomed but unexpected news today from the United States of America, through Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that ISIS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims".

This announcement has come after individuals and organisations in the United States, some of which I have personally worked with, have advocated tirelessly to shed light on this important issue of human suffering and the violation of human dignity.

Through this recognition, an important precedent has been set demonstrating that the international community has real concern for those who have suffered and continue to suffer under these conditions, and that we will work together to ensure, to the best of our ability, that these atrocities are not repeated. This also sends a very clear message to all those suffering: Yazidis, Christians, Shia and others, that we not only feel their pain, but that we stand together to recognise their suffering and support them in whatever way we can.

This is a significant step, that follows the European Parliament recognition of Genocide, that I hope will encourage Her Majesty’s Government to also recognise these unacceptable acts of Genocide against vulnerable communities in the Middle East.

Today is a day of thanksgiving; a day on which we recognise those who have worked tirelessly on this issue, and a day in which we remember those who continue to suffer. It is also a day in which we recognise the sanctity and dignity of God-given human life, and that the violation of either of these is a violation againts us all.

*Ends*


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

HG Bishop Angaelos visits the world’s second largest refugee camp, and delivers address on ‘A time for opportunity and hope in the Middle East’ at the invitation, and in the presence, of HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan


HG Bishop Angaelos visits the world’s second largest refugee camp, and delivers address on ‘A time for opportunity and hope in the Middle East’ at the invitation, and in the presence, of HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan

15 March 2016

 In March 2016, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom visited the Za’atari Refugee Camp, the largest in Jordan and second-largest in the world, and met with international aid organisations and agencies to discuss the means by which they are serving those who have fled the crisis in Syria. 

Speaking about his visit to the camp, Bishop Angaelos said:

“Despite the tragic nature of the current refugee crisis, it was heartening to see children being able to attend educational classes within the camps, and equally encouraging to see women taught various life skills, including computing, embroidery and sowing.

Having met with the directors of UNICEF, UNHCR, World Food Programme, the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation and Caritas,  it is clear that immensely good and faithful work is being carried out daily to provide for the vulnerable victims of this current crisis.”

During his visit, which was arranged by The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies (RIIFS), His Grace delivered a lecture at the Orthodox Club in Amman at the invitation and in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Patron of RIIFS. The lecture, entitled ‘A time for opportunity and hope in the Middle East’ was also attended by 
Dr. Hayel Dawood, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, numerous Church and Muslim leaders, diplomats, academics, legal and Middle East experts, and members of the Club.

During the lecture Bishop Angaelos spoke of the need and opportunity for a new narrative concerning the Middle East, saying:   

“This is an opportunity for us as civic and religious leaders to change the narrative and the expectation that the world has of the Middle East. Many now have no expectation of the region except that the situation will go from bad to worse, and that initiatives will be met with greater failure. We know however, because of our Faith, that there is always hope in humanity, and we must build upon that hope.”

Commenting on the role of religion in the Middle East, he went on to say:      

“Religion is seen by many to be the cause of the problem, but we must challenge the view that religion is irrelevant and a cause of conflict, and show that it is actually an essential part of the solution. We must continue to address internal radical interpretations of religion, and create a nuanced narrative and conversation to allow for freedom of choice, prosperity and dignity for all. We must no longer aim to merely ‘tolerate’ those who are different, but value and celebrate them in that difference.”

Speaking to the impact religious leaders can have on the Middle East region, he said:

“We need to be hope in an increasing hopelessness, and light in an increasing darkness. It is not enough for us to only lead in good times. Good leadership is especially required at the most difficult of times. Not only is it required, it is essential, because it is at those difficult times that people look to a beacon, and they look to someone to follow.”

Paying tribute to Prince Hassan and the work of the institute, Bishop Angaelos said:

“What is required of us as leaders, and what is seen here through this Institute and through this initiative, through His Royal Highness and through this Kingdom, is something that is new and welcomed. These efforts should not only be spoken about, they need to be celebrated.”  

Bishop Angaelos concluded with a call for continued collaboration, saying: 

“We are told in our Scriptures that we are the ‘light of the world’ and a ‘city set on a hill’ (Matthew 5:14) that cannot be hidden. Our world today needs that light of hope that is able to conquer all darkness…The time has come that we should not only react to messages of hopelessness, but that we become proactive and take the narrative into our hands, demonstrating a new and alternative model to the world.”

Following the lecture, in his response, Prince Hassan said:        

“…I thank God that we have this opportunity of interacting with love and respect, and not mere tolerance…the message of hope is clear.”

Speaking of a recent visit to a hospital under the care of Medecins Sans Frontieres in Jordan, His Royal Highness said:

“Yet again I saw the grotesquely disfigured, the amputated; a child who saw his father and uncles killed before him, deprived of the capacity of speech. The reconstructive process is not only of the physical framework of the human but of the attitude. They tell me children are not always drawing monsters, and bombs, but they are beginning to draw the sky and the sea and green pastures. So I would like to pay tribute to the nameless people of many nationalities, including many Jordanians, who have been dealing with the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man.”

He went on to say:

“How many families, communities, nations, and regions have to be torn apart before we finally wake up to the importance of change?”

Later during his visit, Bishop Angaelos met with the Director and Secretary General of the Hashemite Charity Organisation, the Secretary General of the Arab Thought Forum, and the Director of Caritas Jordan, among others, during a lunch hosted by the Hashemite Charity Organisation. He also met with Munther Namat, Director of the Bible Society in Jordan, and visited the sacred sights of the Jordan River and various churches in the Jordan Valley region, as well as the Coptic Orthodox Church and community in Amman. 

*Ends*


***Lecture audio available here: http://bit.ly/21DbSdy***


Thursday, 10 March 2016

HG Bishop Angaelos speaks on a National Press Club panel in Washington DC on ‘Declaring Genocide: Equality and Dignity for Humanity as a Whole’


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HG Bishop Angaelos speaks on a National Press Club panel in Washington DC on ‘Declaring Genocide: Equality and Dignity for Humanity as a Whole’ on 10 March 2016

10 March 2016

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, spoke at a Press Conference regarding a potential U.S. Genocide declaration in response to actions of the Caliphate against the Yazidi and Christian communities in the Middle East. The event was held at The National Press Club in Washington DC on 10 March 2016, and co-sponsored by The Knights of Columbus and Indefense of Christians (IDC).

In his address, entitled ‘Declaring Genocide: Equality and Dignity for Humanity as a Whole’ Bishop Angaelos said:

“We are here to speak about an issue of human rights and human dignity and the sanctity of life, regardless of faith or ethnicity. If an act of Genocide is decreed, it must be based indiscriminately on the facts alone.”

While holding a copy of the recent report on ‘Genocide against Christians in the MiddleEast’ released by The Knights of Columbus for the State Department, he continued:

“If we look at Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) we find that these acts against Christians in the Middle East fall very much in line with the requirements laid out by the United Nations.
I draw your attention now to the picture on the front of the report which depicts 21 of our own Coptic Christians who were brutally murdered in Libya last year. They were intentionally targeted and murdered purely for their Christian Faith.”

Stressing the importance of including Christians in the classification of Genocide, Bishop Angaelos said:

“If Christians are excluded from the classification of Genocide, my concern, fear and expectation is that we will be responsible for a greater and more ruthless campaign of persecution against them, not only in Iraq and Syria but throughout the region.
People on the ground, regardless of rhetoric, stipulation and convention, will perceive that the international community has supported one group over another, and Christians will become a greater soft target. How can we not declare Genocide if Christians are suffering the same fate, at the same time, under the same conditions, at the hands of the same perpetrators?”

Going on to speak about the violation of basic God-given rights, he said:

“What is happening in the Middle East and Syria is criminal and is an indictment of our humanity if left unaddressed. Whether speaking of Yazidis, Christians or other communities, the atrocities they face are deplorable and warrant not only our concern but our intentional action.

These are atrocities not only against international convention, but against a God-given right for people to live free, safe and dignified.”

Warning the international community regarding neglect of those suffering in the Middle East, Bishop Angaelos said:

“Inaction is inexcusable and will lead to further persecution, not only of Christians but of others. It has also led to an unprecedented displacement of people and the resulting refugee crisis that we are witnessing. Having been to Erbil and to the Z’atari camp in Jordan last week, and the transit camps in Europe, I have seen the direct effects of that persecution.”

Bishop Angaelos concluded by saying:

“The path to Genocide is not laid overnight. It is a result of a gradual accumulation over decades, involving ongoing persecution and marginalisation of vulnerable communities. Having gone unchecked on our watch, this has led to our desensitisation and the acceptance of this discriminatory dynamic as the status quo.

In declaring Genocide we are looking to address and flag up the unbearable suffering of communities and subsequently work for the safeguarding of God-given rights enshrined in Universal and international law. We are not looking just to carry out a statistical process, but to safeguard safety not protection, prosperity not charity, and to ensure dignity and not mere survival.”

Alongside His Grace, panellists included, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of the Knights of Columbus, Nina Shea, Director of the Centre for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, Johnnie Moore, President of The Kairos Company, Professor Gregory Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch, Juliana Taimoorazy, Founder, Iraqi Christian Relief Council, Father Joola, Chaldean Catholic Church in Erbil, Father Douglas al-Bazi, former hostage, now a priest at Mar Elia Refugee Camp in Erbil, Iraq, and Professor Robert Destro, Professor of Law and founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington.

*Ends*


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Bishop Angaelos delivers address on ‘A time for opportunity and hope in the Middle East’ at the Orthodox Club in Amman, hosted by The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies (RIIFS) in Jordan, on 1 March 2016


***Lecture audio available here: http://bit.ly/21DbSdy***


1 March 2016

At the invitation and in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Patron of RIIFS, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, delivered a lecture at the Orthodox Club in Amman entitled ‘A time for opportunity and hope in the Middle East.’ The lecture was also attended by Dr. Mohammad Nouh Al Qudah, Jordanian Minister for Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places, numerous Church and Muslim leaders, diplomats, academics, legal and Middle East experts, and members of the Club.

Bishop Angaelos addressed the opportunity for a new narrative concerning the Middle East, saying:

“This is an opportunity for us as civic and religious leaders to change the narrative and the expectation that the world has of the Middle East. Many now have no expectation of the region except that the situation will go from bad to worse, and that initiatives will be met with greater failure. We know however, because of our Faith, that there is always hope in humanity, and we must build upon that hope.”

Commenting on the role of religion in the Middle East, he went on to say:

“Religion is seen by many to be the cause of the problem, but we must challenge the view that religion is irrelevant and a cause of conflict, and show that it is actually an essential part of the solution. We must continue to address internal radical interpretations of religion, and create a nuanced narrative and conversation to allow for freedom of choice, prosperity and dignity for all. We must no longer aim to merely ‘tolerate’ those who are different, but value and celebrate them in that difference.”

Speaking to the impact religious leaders can have on the Middle East region, he said:

“We need to be hope in an increasing hopelessness, and light in an increasing darkness. It is not enough for us to only lead in good times. Good leadership is especially required at the most difficult of times. Not only is it required, it is essential, because it is at those difficult times that people look to a beacon, and they look to someone to follow.”

Paying tribute to Prince Hassan and the work of the institute, Bishop Angaelos said:

“What is required of us as leaders, and what is seen here through this Institute and through this initiative, through His Royal Highness and through this Kingdom, is something that is new and welcomed. These efforts should not only be spoken about, they need to be celebrated.”

Bishop Angaelos concluded with a call for continued collaboration, saying:

“We are told in our Scriptures that we are the ‘light of the world’ and a ‘city set on a hill’ (Matthew 5:14) that cannot be hidden. Our world today needs that light of hope that is able to conquer all darkness…The time has come that we should not only react to messages of hopelessness, but that we become proactive and take the narrative into our hands, demonstrating a new and alternative model to the world.”

Following the lecture, in his response, Prince Hassan said:

“…I thank God that we have this opportunity of interacting with love and respect, and not mere tolerance…the message of hope is clear.”

Speaking of a recent visit to a hospital under the care of Medecins Sans Frontieres in Jordan, His Royal Highness said:

“Yet again I saw the grotesquely disfigured, the amputated; a child who saw his father and uncles killed before him, deprived of the capacity of speech. The reconstructive process is not only of the physical framework of the human but of the attitude. They tell me children are not always drawing monsters, and bombs, but they are beginning to draw the sky and the sea and green pastures. So I would like to pay tribute to the nameless people of many nationalities, including many Jordanians, who have been dealing with the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man.”

He went on to say:

“How many families, communities, nations, and regions have to be torn apart before we finally wake up to the importance of change?”

*Ends*

***Lecture audio available here: http://bit.ly/21DbSdy***




Friday, 26 February 2016

A Tribute to Maged Riad from His Grace Bishop Angaelos


Words cannot express the gratitude owed to our dear friend and brother Maged. A man of integrity, faithfulness, commitment, selflessness, dedication, clarity and honesty who will be missed, but who has left a legacy beyond reproach and and example that must be followed, no matter how difficult that may turn out to be. 

With Mona, their fruits in Mira, Micky and Maury are indeed evidence of a good tree bearing very good fruits indeed as the Scriptures tell us. Maged lives on in and through them.

After an exemplary life and a valiant struggle against illness, may he now rest in peace and remember us before the Lord, still being an advocate, but now of a different sort. Having been 'faithful in what is little' Maged is now given what is infinitely more as he enters with all the faithful servants who have preceded him. 

I paid tribute yesterday in the best way I felt I could:




Monday, 15 February 2016

Press Release: 21 Libya Copts Remembered in Westminster Prayer Service and the Church of England General Synod with statement by HG Bishop Angaelos

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21 Libya Copts Remembered in Westminster Prayer Service and the Church of England General Synod
 
15 February 2016

The 21 Coptic Christians brutally executed in Libya one year ago remembered in a prayer service in the Palace of Westminster, during morning prayers at the Church of England General Synod, and in a Vespers Service at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George in the United Kingdom.

A service of commemoration for the 21 Coptic Christians martyred in Libya 12 months ago was held in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster on 10 February 2016. The service was attended by members of both Houses of Parliament and co-hosted by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. A statement was released by Bishop Angaelos to mark the anniversary. Prayers were also offered, along with a moment of standing in silence, in memory of the 21 Copts at opening prayers of Church of England General Synod.

Speaking in memory of the 21 Copts Bishop Angaelos said:

‘One profound result and gift of this horrific act is that it brought people together. These men paid the ultimate price, but gave us a cause to advocate for all those persecuted; they also showed us that there was a level of evil that we must all stand in solidarity against, and a level of courage, faithfulness and defiance that we must all aspire to.’
Following the Westminster prayer service, The Lord Alton of Liverpool said:

‘It is especially important that we mark the anniversary of the brutal murder of the 21 Coptic Christians in Libya a year ago, not only to keep them in our memory, but to remember and advocate for all those who continue to face persecution in the Middle East. What is happening to Christians and minorities in the region is nothing short of Genocide and we must not stand by and watch as whole communities are eradicated.’
After the service, The Revered Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons said:
‘In marking today we are sending a statement out to the world to say that these individuals are not forgotten. We remember them, we remember what happened to them, and we will forgive because we belong to God. I also hope that it is sending a message that we stand together.’
Bishop Nigel Stock, Bishop at Lambeth, who also represented the Archbishop of Canterbury at the service, said:
‘Proclaiming the Christian Faith is very costly, and we remember a year ago when we heard the news of this terrible crime how shocking it was for the whole Church as it brought home the dangers that people are facing and the consequences of violence that is motivated by hatred of a particular religion.
It was good to see that this service was attended by people from both Houses and others because it sends a sign that this is of concern for the whole world and the whole Church. We have been told the stories of how these young men did not waver in their Faith, kept proclaiming Christ as they fell as martyrs, and that courage, that sheer strength of Faith in Christ, is an inspiration for all of us.’
Vespers prayers will be held later today in the Cathedral of Saint George at The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the United Kingdom in memory of the 21 Copts who lost their lives on 15 February 2015, also remembering their families and others who continue to suffer religious persecution around the world.

*Ends*

Friday, 12 February 2016

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos marking the anniversary of the 21 Coptic Christians martyred in Libya


Anniversary of the 21 Coptic Christians Martyred in Libya

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




12 February 2016

For decades we have witnessed the systematic intimidation, persecution, abduction, and even execution of Christians and minorities in the Middle East, but the horrific murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya 12 months ago had a significant and marked effect on millions around the world. This reaction seemed to clearly indicate that even evil had a line it should not cross. 

The Egyptians, and their friend from Ghana, who were brutally murdered were not statesmen, religious leaders, activists or spokesmen, but ordinary men from villages working to support their families. Those who took their lives sought not only to victimise and disempower them, but to be triumphalist and instil fear in them and in the hearts and minds of all who witnessed this crime. What resulted however was a vision of honour, dignity and resilience demonstrated by these 21 men as they faced the final moments of their lives with their heads raised, and their lips calmly, powerfully and defiantly uttering their Faith. They indeed did "...not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" (Matthew 10:28).

An even stronger and more inconceivable message of forgiveness came from their families and communities. They rejected the temptation to become bitter, angry and vengeful, and inspired the world with their gracious and courageous sentiment. Speaking proudly of the resilience of their fathers, brothers, and sons, who had captured the attention of the whole world, they also uttered their forgiveness for those who had so brutally and needlessly taken their lives, and who sought to rob them of their dignity. 

Over this last year, the persecution of Christians and minorities in the Middle East has been relentless. We have seen communities forced to leave their historic homelands and places of heritage that they had been an instrumental part of for generations. We continue to witness an unprecedented brutality which includes abductions, decapitation, people burned and buried alive, sold into slavery, women sold as sex slaves and children either sold or recruited as child fighters. These crimes are a polar opposite to the civilisation that we should have reached in the life of equality and freedom that we both seek and advocate for around the world. This shows what can happen when we are not vigilant. 

What we are now seeing played out in the Middle East has not happened overnight, but has come after generations of the alienation, marginalisation and persecution of Christians and minority groups throughout the region. Boundaries are challenged and pushed, and when there is no repercussion they are pushed further. The phenomenon starts with people being denied daily justice and equality in society, they are then deemed irrelevant and inconsistent, in the eyes of some, with what the region should be, and finally, they are persecuted, displaced and sometimes even killed. 

We must continue to look at the Middle East, and indeed every place where there is persecution, and not only condemn that persecution but work to restore the basic God-given rights and freedoms that we should all be able to live, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). The 21 Coptic Christians and 30 Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians, along with the thousands who have died at the hands of those who seek to instil terror, are far too many. 

While the picture is bleak, as a Christian I know that the greatest place for light is in darkness, and the greatest opportunity to do good is where there is greatest evil. In seeing all that we have over the last year in the Middle East, it has also given rise to so many examples of bravery, generosity, faithfulness, and a powerful witness of good. We must continue to advocate, to stand for what we believe God has given to us as humanity, to be powerful in the face of injustice, generous in the face of atrocity, forgiving in the face of hatred, reconciliatory in the face of conflict and light in the presence of any darkness.