This Sunday (26 April), as part of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, Anglicans around the world will be praying for the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. Here, ACNS introduces the province.
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is undergoing a period of change. Its four dioceses – Jerusalem, Cyprus and the Gulf, Iran, and Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa – will soon become three, as the Diocese of Egypt will soon become the Province of Alexandria – the 41st Province of the Anglican Communion.
The Diocese of Egypt is one of the largest in the Anglican Communion. It covers the North African countries of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt; as well as the four countries in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti. When it becomes the Anglican Church of Alexandria, it will have four dioceses: Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Gambella.
In contrast, the Diocese of Iran is one of the smallest, with just a handful of congregations which operate with limited freedoms.
The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf is one of the most diverse dioceses in the Anglican Communion. It includes the island of Cyprus, which is very European in culture; and eight Gulf states, including Iraq, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman and Abu Dhabi.
The Diocese of Jerusalem is probably the most visited diocese in the Anglican Communion, attracting pilgrims from around the world to the Land of the Holy One. The Diocese of Jerusalem includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is highly respected for its education and health care ministries.
The Primate of the Province is elected from its four bishops – although the Diocese of Iran has not had a bishop since Bishop Azad Marshall left to take up a role in the united Church of Pakistan’s Diocese of Raiwind. The current Presiding Bishop is Michael Lewis, Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf.
The province has elevated the Bishopric of Jerusalem to an Archbishopric, with the Bishop of Jerusalem known as the Archbishop in Jerusalem, in light of the special status of the city.
As you pray for the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, pray for a smooth transition from one province to two. Pray for the new Province of Alexandria and the remaining dioceses in the province.
Pray, too, for peace in the region; for Christians in the Land of the Holy One – particularly the indigenous Christians of the region.