On Sunday, 10 March, at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, assisted by members of the Holy Synod, elevated seven priests to the episcopate. The chief priority in this first batch of new bishops was the provision of bishops for areas of Coptic population and the re-oganisation of dioceses in Egypt. Father Epiphanius el-Makary was consecrated Bishop-Abbot of the ancient Monastery of St. Makarios in Wadi el-Natr’un, under the name of Bishop Epiphanios. For a number of years this monastery, under its spiritual guide, Father Matthew the Poor, had pursued a rather distinctive form of monasticism, but this appointment of a new Bishop-Abbot marks the final stage of the process of reintegrating it into the Coptic mainstream. Fr Makar el-Baramousy was consecrated as Bishop of 10 Ramadan city (population 450,000+) and its vicinity in Sharqiya Governorate, east of the Delta, under the name Bishop Makar. Father Saleeb el-Samueli was consecrated as Bishop Samuel, Bishop of Tamouh, El-Badrashein, El Hawamdiah (all south of Giza) & affiliate jurisdictions and Father Yulius Ava-Mina was consecrated as a general bishop in Cairo.
When Metropolitan Domadios of Giza (the ancient Memphis), died in September 2011 he had ruled the diocese for some forty-eight years, during which the population had expanded enormously. Although for the latter part of his ministry, Metropolitan Domadios was confined to a wheel chair as the result of a stroke, his diocese not only expanded with a huge church building programme but it was also an outstanding example of both spiritual and charitable activities. It was now decided to divide this huge diocese into four smaller smaller dioceses. Fr Yu’annis el-Suriani became Bishop Yuhanna, Bishop of North Giza; Father Zosima el-Antony was consecrated as Bishop Zosima of Etfeeh (Aphroditopolis) & El-Saff. Father Zakaria el-Suriani, was consecrated Bishop of 6 October City and Uossim, and chose to take the name of Bishop Domadios in honour of the late Metropolitan.
Bishop Theodosius, who had been consecrated in 2009 as a General Bishop to assist Metropolitan Domadios, was now appointed as Bishop of Central Giza. Two other long-standing General Bishops were also now appointed as diocesan bishops: Bishop Boutros, head of Aghapy TV, who was originally ordained a chorepiscopos in 1979 and a General Bishop in 1985, serving as an Auxiliary in the diocese of Ismailia 1985-1998, was enthroned as Bishop of Shebin al-Qanater (an area of northern metropolitan Cairo, comprising 36 villages in the Governorate of Qalyubia); and Bishop Daniel, who was consecrated as a General Bishop in 1991 and served as Assistant to the diocese of Gherge 1991-93, and looked after the south Cairo suburbs of Mahdi & Kotsika since 1963, has now become diocesan bishop of the same area.
An important appointment for the lands of the diaspora was the provision of a Bishop for Canada. Bishop Mina, who had been ordained as a General Bishop in 2009, with responsibility for Old Cairo since 2010, was been appointed as Bishop of Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada.
The Synod of the British Orthodox Church, which usually meets twice yearly, convened at the Church Secretariat in Charlton, London, on 24 November under the chairmanship of Abba Seraphim.
Apart from receiving reports on the progress and development of parishes and missions, the election and enthronement of Pope Tawadros II was noted with great joy. Immediately following the Altar Lot, Abba Seraphim had written to His Holiness to say this the news had been received with “great joy, not only because we now again have a Pope to guide and care for us but also because we are confidant that this choice is of God. We realise the awesome responsibility which has now fallen upon you and that it is out of obedience to God and love of His church that you have accepted a burden, which can only be carried with the knowledge that the Lord will sustain you at all times.” On behalf of the clergy and faithful of the British Orthodox Church, Abba Seraphim had offered “our love, obedience and constant prayers.”
A long standing concern of the Synod has been the conservation and cataloguing of the extensive archive which the British Orthodox Church has amassed over almost a century and a half. Following discussion, it was agreed that a document management strategy, extending over the next five years, should be adopted to achieve this end. It was also noted that in 2013 the Cusworth Church will celebrate the silver jubilee of its consecration as an Orthodox place of worship and Saturday, 18 May was set aside a day of special thanksgiving.