HG Bishop Angaelos enthroned over new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London in historic service in the Coptic Cathedral of Saint George, UK
On 18 November 2017, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, who has served as General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom since 1999, was enthroned as the first Bishop of the new Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London during a historic service in the Coptic Cathedral of Saint George, Hertfordshire. The Enthronement service came a week after HH Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Proclaimed Bishop Angaelos as the first Diocesan Bishop of London in a service in St Bishoy Monastery Wadi El-Natrun, Egypt.
The vespers service included traditional Coptic prayers, mostly in English, followed by the enthronement of His Grace at the hands of a delegation of visiting Coptic Metropolitans and Bishops. The Instrument of Enthronement, the document outlining the bishop’s appointment and responsibilities, was formally signed by the members of the delegation.
During his address, Bishop Angaelos thanked everyone in attendance, as well as His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and the late Pope, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III. He went on to say:
“This is not a day about me, but about this Diocese, it is a birth of a new diocese, the putting together of a new family.
“Today we start a journey together, because a Diocese is a combination of individuals and parishes who bring to this new family their own strengths, while being able to also compensate for one other’s weaknesses. As a diocese I would want us to follow closely in the footsteps of our Lord and in the words of St Cyril of Jerusalem, who says: “Everywhere the Saviour becomes all things to all. To the hungry bread; to the thirsty, water, to the dead, Resurrection, to the sick a physician, to sinners: Redemption.” I do hope that we can work towards trying to accommodate for all.”
“What sets the Church apart from other organisations and institutions is that it is centred on Christ and that we can go to Him in our times of greatest need. It is also the fellowship of the Eucharist, the Body of Christ of which we are all members individually, but Christ remains our Head.”
“Today is a start, and I pray that God continues to support us to pray, work, and journey together. At this time I wish to remember what our Lord instructed His disciples to do in John 13:14, saying that they must begin their ministry by washing one another’s feet, and that it was in that spirit that the ministry of the Gospel is carried out. So I pray and I hope that this ministry is going to be about the washing of feet, mine of yours, and yours of one another’s.”
Towards the end of his address, Bishop Angaelos, removed his cope and proceeded to wash the feet of a number of children in the congregation, signifying his intent to begin his new ministry as a servant with the desire to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Messages from Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime Minister, and The Most Revered Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, were read during the service. Addresses were given by His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland, His Eminence Archbishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod, Council of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Archbishop Kevin McDonald Co-Founder & Co-Chair of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum in the United Kingdom, Billy Kennedy, Leader, Pioneer Network, President of Churches Together in England, His Grace Bishop Suriel, Dean of Saint Athanasius Theological College, Melbourne, Australia, Coptic Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Roufail, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion of Los Angeles, Council of Bishops of North America, Coptic Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Pakhomious, Locum Tenens 2012, Coptic Orthodox Church.
Joining members of the Coptic community at the service were, representatives of the ecumenical and civic life of Britain, various inter-religious guests, and representatives of advocacy organisations.