Friday, 26 June 2015

Comment by HG Bishop Angaelos re brutal killings in France, Tunisia and Kuwait


Friday 26 June 2015


Comment by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, following the brutal killings in France, Tunisia and Kuwait on 26 June 2015

The brutal killings in France, Tunisia and Kuwait today show the vulnerability of our humanity, not only in those who died so needlessly and tragically, but also in those who were able to murder so brutally, mercilessly and intentionally. Once again the world witnesses the unnecessary claiming of innocent lives, a now far too familiar yet wholly unacceptable occurrence in the 21st Century. These horrific events indicate the increasing need for us all to continue to hold ourselves, as well as others, accountable for what we as fellow humans perceive to be the sanctity of human life because such intolerance, hatred and the objectification of others stems from an inability to recognise that shared humanity.

We pray for those whose lives have been taken, as well as for their families and communities, and for all those who will continue to fear and be traumatised by these horrific events. In the spirit of Christian forgiveness we also continue to pray, as we have in the past, for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, that they may one day look upon those they have killed with a sense of remorse and grief, realising that they have deprived their families of a vibrant and beautiful future with them.

May God grant us and the world His peace, strength and healing, that incidents such as these may cease and that, in the interim, we have the strength to continue to speak out and seek a solution, and find an end, to such tragic and needless acts.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

His Grace Bishop Angaelos to be conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to International Religious Freedom


His Grace Bishop Angaelos to be conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to International Religious Freedom



It was announced on 13 June 2015 that His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom would be conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty The Queen, 'For Services to International Religious Freedom.'

The honours system, founded during the First World War in 1917 by George V, now serves to recognise people who have made achievements in public life and committed themselves to serving and helping Britain. Over the past years Bishop Angaelos has worked tirelessly to advocate for religious freedom, releasing statements calling for the protection of God-given rights and freedoms for all, testifying in the United States Congress on human rights abuses, taking part in a variety of media interviews to raise awareness of a number of issues in the Middle East, and organising and engaging in numerous ecumenical, governmental and non-governmental meetings and events focusing on the protection of basic human rights and freedoms.

Through his work, the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom is a supporter of, and works in conjunction with, the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Bishop Angaelos as founder and convenor of, and driving force behind the Asylum Advocacy Group, works to help the vulnerable. His efforts have brought together organisations and parties who have never previously collaborated and the group has seen an effective result with the UK Home Office border agency regarding asylum cases, with a continuity that other organisations have not experienced.

In 2013 he became the first Coptic clergyman to testify in the United States Congress. Approached to attest to human rights abuses in Egypt since the 2011 uprising due to his knowledge and public voicing of the matter, he spoke of human rights and religious freedom violations facing Christians, secularists, women, those suffering poverty and various minorities. He is a pioneer in advocating for human rights and freedom for all as his testimony, among other efforts, has given a voice to people of all faiths.

In April 2015 at an international conference in Bari, Italy addressing extreme challenges faced by Christians in the Middle East, Bishop Angaelos called for greater collaboration between Churches, governments, organisations, and similar initiatives that would lead to greater results for all. He warned that “a lack of coordination will lead to a fragmentation of what should be a very powerful voice of advocacy, as well as duplication and the wastage of resources that are already limited in light of the immense need.”

Highlighting the need to refer to minority communities in the Middle East more precisely in discourse and in the media, Bishop Angaelos went on to say: “This issue must be transformed from one of ‘minorities’ to that of indigenous people who have had their roots in these lands for not only decades or centuries but millennia. They are an intrinsic part of, and a stabilising force in, the region, and losing them would be a loss to the whole world as they are, through their continuous presence, part of the history, institution and constitution of the Middle East.”

Since the establishment of the Media and Communications Office in the United Kingdom in 2011, Bishop Angaelos’ statements have been far-reaching, calling for justice and the protection of basic rights and freedoms. His statements to-date have been particularly striking due to their all-encompassing nature, speaking for the rights of all communities, not merely his own.

His message of forgiveness following the brutal murder of Coptic Christians in Libya in February 2015 had a significant impact on the media coverage of that event and helped to further raise awareness of the plight of so many killed for their faith, and their families and communities who are left behind. In launching the ‘When Left Behind’ appeal for the families of those who died in Libya, Bishop Angaelos attracted comment and support from figures such as His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and numerous others in their private and official capacities, both nationally and internationally.

Bishop Angaelos continues to work in the sphere of international religious freedom, and on receiving news of his award, said:

“I am humbled by this award because I see it as my role and duty to advocate for religious freedom as part of my ministry. While I am thankful for this great honour, it also comes with a sense of sadness that in the 21st Century we still need to defend people’s God-given rights and freedoms in this way. I consider this an award to every person who has worked with and supported me along the way and pray that God rewards and blesses them for all they have done and all they will continue to do. I must also express my sincere gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen and the Prime Minister for considering this cause worthy of such public acknowledgement.”

Watch various talks and interviews with His Grace Bishop Angaelos concerning International Religious Freedom via www.Youtube.com/CopticMediaUK and read his statements via www.CopticMediaUK.com. Follow His Grace on twitter via www.Twitter.com/BishopAngaelos



Saturday, 13 June 2015

Announcement: HG Bishop Angaelos to receive OBE for services to international religious freedom


Announcement
His Grace Bishop Angaelos to be conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to international religious freedom by Her Majesty The Queen.

13 June 2015
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom will be 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 as announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, published in the London Gazette on 13 June 2015.
Bishop Angaelos, who is conducting and speaking at the inaugural young adult’s convention in Vancouver, Canada, said the following in response to the announcement:
“I am humbled by this award because I see it as my role and duty to advocate for religious freedom as part of my ministry. While I am thankful for this great honour, it also comes with a sense of sadness that in the 21st Century we still need to defend people’s God-given rights and freedoms in this way. I consider this an award to every person who has worked with and supported me along the way and pray that God rewards and blesses them for all they have done and all they will continue to do. I must also express my sincere gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen and the Prime Minister for considering this cause worthy of such public acknowledgement.”

The formal investiture will take place in the coming months.

*Ends*

View this announcement online via www.CopticMediaUK.com 




Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Article: The Third International Coptic Symposium 2015 at The Coptic Centre UK

Coptic Culture: Past, Present, & Future
“Ordinary Lives, Changing Times”


[Photographs from the event available HERE and HERE]



Held at The Coptic Orthodox Centre in Stevenage, United Kingdom on 5-7 June 2015, the third International Symposium on Coptic Culture:  Past, Present, & Future focused on the richness of the daily life experience of Egypt’s Christian presence throughout history. The Symposium’s title “Ordinary Lives, Changing Times” underscored the importance of exposing some of the lesser known aspects of Coptic lives in Late Antiquity and beyond.

Scholars from Canada, the United States, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Egypt and Australia came together to present their latest research on Coptic Culture. The disciplines explored were equally varied: archaeology, art history, ethnography, language, and history. The talks were as varied as their disciplines, ranging from discussing the attire of Copts, to analysing aspects of the provision and production of food in monasteries, to an examination of the history of Eucharistic wine in the Coptic Church, and the traditions of bridal dowry payments.  

The international audience consisted of experts who travelled to take part in the symposium, and members of the broader Coptic and Egyptian community in the U.K. The diversity of backgrounds of speakers and attendees made for lively and in-depth discussions.

The keynote address was held at the British Museum in London on June 5th. Under the title “Creating a digital (Coptic) Old Testament”, Professor Heike Behlmer of the University of Göttingen presented her project on collecting and  digitising fragments of the Coptic Old Testament, currently dispersed in private and public collections  around the globe. The fragments, preserved on a variety of materials, are being digitally collated and made accessible online for the first time.


During his closing speech at the British Museum, Bishop Angaelos said:

“For us to come together to speak about Coptic culture is significant because culture is not only the place of antiquity, but it presents life. This Symposium presents a wonderful marriage between a very rich culture and history and a very dynamic and vibrant present. Exploring our cultural history enables us to look at what we have received and consider how we can translate that into our current thoughts, words and dreams for the future. The works we have now are a result of our heritage; the works of the future will be the result of what now will be someone else’s heritage, this is a continuous journey.”




Dr Mariam Ayad, Associate Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and organizer of the symposium said:


"The symposium's theme this year, highlighting aspects of the daily life experience of ordinary Copts, underscored how in some respects very little has changed, despite the great technological advances that separate us from those Late Antique lives that were discussed over the course of the weekend. People are people -- everywhere, and at any time period. Examining the lives of ordinary people breathes life into history, enabling us to relate to historical figures.  Their problems and concerns are the same as ours, including issues of debt, violence, grief, managing a household efficiently, amongst other things." 




The various talks presented at the symposium addressed a gap in scholarship, which has often overlooked the social historical aspects of the Coptic experience. Their presentations fostered a lively discussion of what it means, whether now or in the past, to be a productive, integrated citizen in Egypt and beyond. The symposium organisers hope that these discussions will continue and further an active and dynamic dialogue on Coptic identity and heritage.

More photographs from the Symposium will be available soon via this link: HERE or by visiting Reflections by HG Bishop Angaelos on Facebook.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Press Release: His Grace Bishop Angaelos represents His Holiness Pope Tawadros II at an international conference in Italy regarding the future of Christians in the Middle East.

Press Release
For immediate use
30 April 2015

Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)
Media and Communications Office

His Grace Bishop Angaelos represents His Holiness Pope Tawadros II at an international conference in Italy regarding the future of Christians in the Middle East.

30 April 2015
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom,  took part in an international conference entitled ‘Christians in the Middle East: What Future?’ officially representing His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark.
The conference, which was held on 29-30 April 2015 in Bari Italy, was attended by patriarchs and heads of the Catholic, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches of the Middle East, along with international political and governmental representatives, journalists, academics and lay members of communities. 
Speaking of the need for collaborative efforts in responding to the extreme challenges that face Christians in the Middle East, Bishop Angaelos said:
“It is time for greater collaboration between our Churches, governments, organisations, and initiatives like this, which will lead to greater results for all. If we do not take ownership in responding to this situation and the needs of those suffering in the Middle East now, opportunists will take our place and use this tragedy and its victims for their own agenda. A lack of coordination will lead to a fragmentation of what should be a very powerful voice of advocacy, as well as duplication and the wastage of resourses that are already limited in light of the immense need.”
On the final day of the conference Bishop Angaelos spoke about safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Christians in the Middle East, and the importance of classifying them as indigenous people, saying:
“This must be transformed from an issue of minorities to one of indigenous people who have had their roots in these lands for not only decades or centuries but millennia. They are an intrinsic part of, and a stabilising force in, the region, and losing them would be a loss to the whole world as they are, through their continuous presence, part of the history, institution and constitution of the Middle East.”
Speaking of the continued need for voicing the issue and for advocacy efforts, Bishop Angaelos said:
“There has been such an immense bravery and witness from so many in the region, including the Ethiopian and Coptic martyrs who recently paid the ultimate price, the two Syrian archbishops who remain missing, and so many more in Iraq and Syria. As Christian leaders we must continue to speak with a voice that is nuanced, no longer referring to Christians of the East and West, but speaking as the one Body of Christ that suffers and witnesses equally and is unified in proclaiming the Gospel.”

As part of the programme, attendees gathered for a service of prayer dedicated to Christians of the Middle East in the Basilica of San Nicola on Wednesday evening.
The conference was hosted collaboratively by the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Catholic Archdiocese of Bari-Bitonto in response to an open plea by His Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, for 'an appropriate response from the international community to the challenges facing Christians in the Middle East.'
Pope Tawadros visited Pope Francis at the Vatican in May 2013, marking 40 years since the late Pope Shenouda III and the late Pope Paul VI signed the historic Christological agreement between their respective Churches at the Vatican in 1973. Bishop Angaelos, who was also part of the delegation accompanying Pope Tawadros, said 'during this visit, Their Holiness spoke of the shared heritage of martyrdom in their Churches, which now seems almost prophetic in light of this and similar meetings that attempt to respond to atrocities that continue to be faced by members of their Churches today in the Middle East.'  

*Ends*


Visit www.Santegidio.org for more information about the conference.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Hundreds visit The Coptic Centre in Stevenage to mark the 150th anniversary of Shephalbury Manor

Press Release
For immediate use
27 April 2015

Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)
Media and Communications Office
Hundreds visit The Coptic Centre in Stevenage to mark the 150th anniversary of Shephalbury Manor.
A special open day was held at The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the United Kingdom, situated at Shephalbury Manor, to mark 150th anniversary of the manor. The open day, hosted by the Coptic community, was attended by the Mayor of Stevenage, Councillor Sherma Batson MBE, various mayors and civic dignitaries from across Hertfordshire, and approximately 400 members of the local and wider Hertfordshire community. A number of people who have had a historic connection with the manor over the years also attended, including members of the Heathcote family that had historically owned and occupied Shephalbury Manor.
The open day included a Stevenage Museum display of articles owned by the Heathcote family, an information session about the history of the manor, tours of the Cathedral of Saint George, a barbeque and various activities for the children.
In his welcome address in the manor house His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said:
“Having been in this manor for over 25 years, the Coptic community is thankful for the efforts of a very dedicated group of local residents called ‘The Shephalbury Manor Action Committee’. They saved this building from demolition and had it listed in the 1980s before the Coptic Church purchased it in 1991. Since then, this building and this Centre remains a place of life, active ministry and interaction within the community.
We look at ourselves as very much a part of Stevenage, Hertfordshire and of course the wider British community, and therefore are able to engage on a variety of levels including pastoral work, youth ministry, ecumenical relations and official work, among other things. I am very proud to live in Stevenage, as a thriving community, and we all, as a community, appreciate and value this Manor as our home, for the history and heritage it brings, and for the living opportunities that it provides people today.”
His Grace went on to thank Stevenage Museum for its display of artefacts owned by the Heathcote family, and introduced Mayor Sherma Batson, saying:
“Mayor Batson is one of the most active mayors of Stevenage that I have encountered over the past 20 years. I thank you for all that you have done over the past year, and while your mayoral term is coming to an end, I know that you will go from strength to strength and continue to do great work.”
In addressing the community the Mayor said:
“This is a fantastic time for me to be the first citizen of Stevenage and to be able to be in this building and on this site which is actually in my council ward, so I am equally proud of that. If it wasn’t for the Coptic community and the Church here this building would have fallen into disrepair, and I know that for a fact. I am so pleased that you have opened your doors because it is a wonderful place to see and my next big project will be to make sure that a brown sign is produced to let people know you that you are here as a part of our great town.”


*Ends*

Friday, 24 April 2015

Special service hosted by His Grace Bishop Angaelos and the Mayor of Stevenage to mark Saint George’s Day

Press Release
For immediate use
24 April 2015

Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)
Media and Communications Office

Special service hosted by His Grace Bishop Angaelos and the Mayor of Stevenage to mark Saint George’s Day
 24 April 2015


A special service was held in the Cathedral of Saint George in The Coptic Centre, Stevenage to mark Saint George’s Day on 23 April 2015. Hosted by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and Councillor Sherma Batson MBE, Mayor of Stevenage, the service was attended by more than 100 people including The Countess Verulam, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, civic dignitaries, ecumenical guests, and members of the Coptic community and the wider Stevenage community.

In his sermon Bishop Angaelos spoke of the recent murder of Coptic and Ethiopian Christians in Libya, saying:
“Today we celebrate the great martyr Saint George, and what we see in him is what we can strive to achieve in our lives today. What has been proven to us over the past weeks is that power, witness and dedication is not limited to the lives of the saints in the past, but sacrificing, even paying the ultimate price for one’s Faith is still happening today.       

Saint George was a person with conviction, a successful man, community leader, and military commander, and despite his struggles he would not renounce his Faith. It is that strength and example that allows us to be faithful witnesses and contribute positively to society today, knowing that despite the presence of evil, there is infinitely more hope that is brought about by people of conviction like Saint George. Today we celebrate the life of this great Saint and realise that we can likewise be the Saint George’s of our day.”

In a short address after the service, the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire said:
“Today is such an auspicious and wonderful day to be here, the Patron Saint’s Day, it really is a special day. It is wonderful to see this place flourishing as a Centre of prayer and calmness, meditation and love, in the midst of what are very difficult times for Christians. It is a wonderful example to the rest of us.”
In thanking those who attended the service the Mayor said:
“Lord Lieutenant, civic dignitaries, councillors, friends, residents, people of this town, thank you so much for joining the Bishop and I here today for this event, I hope you enjoyed the service as much as I did. I found the sermon uplifting, especially in the times that we are living in, as it is important to remember that there is still good in the world and I think there is more good than there is bad, and we must remain positive about that.
I would like to thank you for hosting the event in this magnificent Cathedral that is in our town, and I am glad that many are here today and have seen something they have never seen before. It has been a really lovely event to happen in my mayoral year, and I thank you for sharing this wonderful place as there are so many different people with different backgrounds and we need to share with the community, and I am glad to be part of it.”



*Ends*

Monday, 20 April 2015

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos following the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (IS) in Libya

For immediate use
20 April 2015

Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)
Media and Communications Office

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, following the murder of Ethiopian Christians in Libya

20 April 2015

The confirmation of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (IS) in Libya has been received with deep sadness. These executions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably claim the lives of innocent people, wholly undeserving of this brutality, have unfortunately become far too familiar. Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their Faith.

The Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia have had a shared heritage for centuries. Being predominantly Orthodox Christian communities with a mutual understanding of life and witness, and a common origin in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they now also share an even greater connection through the blood of these contemporary martyrs.

This sad news came on the day that His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury visited His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Egypt to personally express his condolences following the similar brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by Daesh in February of this year. 

These horrific murders have not only touched the lives of those in the Middle East and Africa, but have led to a greater sense of solidarity among people and communities around the world. I am thankful, in the midst of this pain, that the ghastly nature of these crimes is bringing a greater rejection of them, and of any ideology that sanctions, justifies or glorifies brutality and murder.

As people of faith and none who respect humanity and life, we must continue to speak out against such appalling and senseless violence. As Christians, we remain committed to our initial instinct following the murder of our 21 Coptic brothers in Libya, that it is not only for our own good, but indeed our duty to ourselves, the world, and even those who see themselves as our enemies, to forgive and pray for the perpetrators of this and similar crimes. We pray for these men and women, self-confessed religious people, that they may be reminded of the sacred and precious nature of every life created by God.

Acts such as these do not only cause insurmountable pain to so many around the world, especially the families and communities of the victims, but can also create an even greater desensitisation in those perpetrating them to the suffering and pain which they cause. The will of God, Who created us in His own Image and likeness, can most certainly not be that we feel each other’s pain less or become desensitised to each other’s suffering.

We pray repose for the souls of these innocent men, a change of heart for those who took their lives, but above all we pray comfort and strength for their families and communities, and the many around the world who may not have known them, yet are left to mourn such a tragic and unnecessary loss of precious life.  

Having seen the courageous response of the families of the Coptic martyrs in Libya, we pray similar strength, courage and peace for all those suffering as a result of this brutal act, reassured that their loved ones will never be forgotten, having died as true martyrs and paying the ultimate price, hearing the joyful promise “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord.”[1]




[1] The Holy Bible, Gospel of Matthew 25:21, NKJV

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Reports emerge of the murder of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya

It is with deep sadness that we have received news of 30 Ethiopian Christians reportedly killed by IS in Libya. As we wait for verification of the gruesome video and images now being circulated on social media, we pray for these men and comfort for their families.

This sad news comes on a day when The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury has travelled to Egypt and visited His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark to pay his condolences for the recent brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya at the hands of Daesh (IS). 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Engagements in Washington DC 17-18 March 2015


HG Bishop Angaelos met with a number of state representatives and officials in Washington DC and spoke at the National Press Club and the Hudson Institute on 17-18 March regarding the state of Christians in Egypt and the broader Middle East.
   
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom spoke to an audience of journalists, government representatives, NGO’s and media professionals at the National Press Club in Washington DC on ‘Sensitivity rather than sensationalism in media reporting’. After his address he responded to questions as part of a panel made up of Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos foundation, Robert A. 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, D.C, Thomas Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Journalist for the National Review, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and Nermien Riad of Coptic Orphans. In his address Bishop Angaelos shed light on the dangers of sensational reporting, and noted the power of journalism in influencing public opinion, generating reactions and directly impacting lives.

Praising journalists for their response to the brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya, His Grace said:

“The Coptic community felt encouraged by the sensitive media coverage of those who were killed in Libya. Their martyrdom was a turning point for the world, and after this atrocity we must realise that news coverage is not merely about headlines, ratings, or statistics, it is about lives.”

He contrasted this with past coverage of events such as the burning of over 100 Churches and places of Christian ministry in Egypt in August 2013 where mainstream media was slow to respond. He went on to say,

“It is important that journalists do all they can to ensure that individuals and communities do not feel forgotten, disregarded or insignificant. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to covering the Middle East, and it is important that the media is not selective in reporting atrocities.”

Later in the day His Grace gave a keynote address on the ‘Prospects for Christians in the Path of Persecution’ at the Hudson Institute. The session was chaired by Nina Shea, Director of the Centre for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute and Sam Tadros, Senior Fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute made a response to the address by His Grace. The panel then responded to questions from the audience, who were made up of government representatives, media professionals, and NGO’s.

In his address Bishop Angaelos spoke of the increasing intolerance and violence facing indigenous Christian communities in the Middle East and the danger of the current model of extremism spreading across the region and beyond. He spoke of the tendency to generalise the situation facing Christians in the Middle East, saying:

“The answer is not to empty the Middle East of its Christians nor to force them to remain in the region to maintain a presence, but to seek what they desire and enable them to fulfil their own choices, which will vary depending on many factors including where they live and what their experience is.

We must realise that many Christians do not desire to leave their homelands because they are the indigenous people of the region, so let us look at the Middle East within its own context and not impose Western models.”

His Grace concluded with reassuring words of Scripture relating to the state of Christians in the Middle East, saying: ‘We are hard-pressed but not crushed, persecuted but never forsaken’ (paraphrased from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

In response Sam Tadros spoke of the importance of safeguarding the rights of Christians in the Middle East due to the impact their presence has on the region, saying:

“When we speak about the rights and persecution of Christians it is not because we care about their presence because we are Christian, but because the fate of Christians is tied to the whole region itself…the Christian presence has also been a valued bridge between the East and the West.”

As part of his visit to Washington, His Grace also met with Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. His Grace also attended a Congressional Hearing after which he met with Ambassador Saperstein, the State Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.


Bishop Angaelos’ engagements on 17 March included attending a Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill and meeting with Co-Chairs of the Middle East Religious Minorities Caucus, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, and Congressdwoman Anna G. Eshoo. His Grace also met other members of the Caucus, including Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Congressman Dave Trott, and Congressman Tim Walberg.

During his visit Bishop Angaelos prayed a vespers service at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church and preached on the life of the Cross and the recent martyrdom of 21 Coptic men in Libya. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

HRH The Prince of Wales and The Archbishop of Canterbury support appeal for families of those brutally murdered in Libya

Press Release
For immediate use
6 March 2015

Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe) 
Media and Communications Office


His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury offer their support for the ‘When Left Behind’ appeal launched by His Grace Bishop Angaelos for the families of Coptic Christians brutally murdered in Libya in February 2015

6 March 2015
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales wrote personal letters of condolence to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, and His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the brutal murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya and subsequently made a generous contribution towards the #WhenLeftBehind appeal, which will support the families in Egypt of those murdered in Libya. The Prince of Wales has continuously expressed his concern regarding the current challenges facing Christians in some Middle-Eastern nations and visited the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage in December 2013.
The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury also offered his condolences to Bishop Angaelos during his personal visit to the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre on 19 February 2015, and endorsed the appeal with a video message. The full appeal video can be seen HERE.
Bishop Angaelos launched the 'When Left Behind' appeal at a memorial service in London on 18 February 2015, where he spoke of the immense courage, strength and dignity shown by those who lost their lives in Libya, saying:
“As we mourn with the families of those who died we also rejoice in the faithful conviction, strength, dignity and bravery of these men; these fathers, brothers, uncles and sons who will never be forgotten.”
Bishop Angaelos invites all to contribute to the ‘When Left Behind’ appeal, saying:
“These young men were bread winners for their families and their loss will not only rob them of the joy of their presence but will leave a significant financial void in an already impoverished community. I am thankful to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Honourable David Cameron and so many more who have already expressed their support and solidarity with the families who are left behind and with the Coptic faithful around the world.”
DONATE via www.JustGiving.com/WhenLeftBehind or TEXT ‘COPT21 £(amount)’ to 70070.
The names of the young men killed in Libya are:
  1. Milad Makeen Zaky
  2. Abanub Ayad Atiya
  3. Maged Soliman Shehata
  4. Youssef Shukry Younan
  5. Kirollos Boshra Fawzy
  6. Bishoy Astafanous Kamel
  7. Samuel Astafanous Kamel
  8. Malak Ibrahim Sinyout
  9. Tawadros Youssef Tawadros
  10. Gerges Milad Sinyout
  11. Mina Fayez Aziz
  12. Hany Abdel Mesih Salib
  13. Samuel Alham Wilson
  14. Ezzat Boshra Naseef
  15. Luka Nagaty Anis
  16. Gaber Mounir Adly
  17. Essam Baddar Samir
  18. Malak Farag Abrahim
  19. Sameh Salah Farouk
  20. Gerges Samir Megally
  21. Mathew Ayairga (from Ghana)

For more information about the appeal please contact
Advocacy@CopticCentre.com

*Ends*