The British Orthodox Church
within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

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03
Sep

Church Leaders gather at Lambeth to pray for the Middle East

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Image source: Coptic Media UK

On 3 September, following the initiative of His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury invited leaders and representatives of the Middle East Churches in the UK to gather “in Solidarity with Christians in the Middle East: Rejoicing in their Faith and Sharing in their Collective Pain”at Lambeth Palace on 3 September. There was an impressive array of Orthodox and Middle Eastern clergy, including Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate), Archbishop Athanasius Thoma Dawod of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Seraphim (British Orthodox Church), Bishop Angaelos (Coptic Orthodox Church), the Anglican Bishops of London, Southwark, Coventry and Warwick, Bishop Geoffrey Rowell (as co-chair of the Anglican-Orthodox International Commission), as well as representatives of the Syrian Catholic Church, the Chaldean Church, the Ancient Church of the East, the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Melkite Church, the Maronite Church, and the Catholic Church and others groups working for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East. After welcoming all present, the Archbishop chaired a ‘Round Table Meeting’ at which those present were invited to comment or share information, which lasted about ninety minutes.  This was followed by a Service of Prayer in the Crypt Chapel, comprising scriptural readings as well as extracts from the writings of St. Isaac of Nineveh and St. Ephrem the Syrian and Psalm CXLII (Septuagint CXLI). The hymns included  St. Patrick’s Lorica and St. Bernard of Cluny’s “Jerusalem the Golden” from his De Contemptu Mundi, which seemed especially  apposite for the occasion. At the conclusion the Archbishop and congregation met with the Press and the Archbishop issued a consensual statement on behalf of all present [see Youtube]