Photo Credit: Ahmed Younis Sif Saad
The ancient city of Alexandria, which was founded by Alexander the Great more than 300 years before Christ’s birth, will give its name to the 41st Province of the Anglican Communion. The new province will be formed when the current Diocese of Egypt becomes independent of its current home in the province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The move had been requested by the Diocese – which covers Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and has been endorsed by the Synod of the current province.
The Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council sent an exploration committee following the request form the diocese. At a conference call meeting earlier this year, the Standing Committee agreed to the formation of the new province, subject to the completion of legal processes. Under the Anglican Consultative Council’s constitution the creation of new provinces requires the assent of two thirds of the Communion’s primates. At their meeting in Jordan last week, the primates agreed to the move.
The new province will contain four dioceses: Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Gambella. Last September, Bishop Rajan Vincent Jacob was consecrated as Area Bishop for Gambella by Archbishop Suheil Dawani, who was the primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East at that time.
The Diocese of Egypt says that Bishop Rajan has three priorities: to raise up and train Christian leaders, to give oversight to community development projects, and to continue to promote peace-building through youth ministry and the Mother’s Union.
In their report to the Standing Committee, the exploration group said: “We have a strong sense that this is the appropriate time for the provincial independence of the Diocese of Egypt as it is poised for future development, which would be difficult to achieve whilst maintaining balance within the current province.
“We are convinced that the rationale for the proposal is sound and that the Diocese of Egypt has the potential to become a vibrant independent church.”
The Standing Committee and Primates also received an update about steps being made for the creation of a proposed new Province for the Church of Ceylon. Currently, the two dioceses of Colombo and Kurunegala are outside any province and under the direct metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the communiqué released at the end of last week’s meeting, the Primates said that they “noted progress towards a province in Sri Lanka”.