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Archbishop Hosam installed as Primate of Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & Middle East

Posted on: May 15, 2023 9:38 AM
Archbishop Hosam installed as Primate of Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & Middle East
Photo Credit: ACNS

A group of pilgrims from a parish church in the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui joined diplomats and church leaders in Jerusalem this weekend for the installation of the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Dr Hosam Naoum, as the President Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. Archbishop Hosam succeeds Bishop Michael Lewis of Cyrus and the Gulf, who will retire from next month. 

The handover of the primacy took place at the Cathedral Church of Saint George the Martyr during a special Eucharist, a day after the Provincial Synod meeting. 

In his sermon, Archbishop Hosam named all former Primates who held office since the province was formed in 1976, and he praised them for their achievements during their ministry. He noted that the primates had come from the Dioceses of Iran, Cyprus and the Gulf, Jerusalem, and Egypt, which has now formed its own province of Alexandria, serving ten countries along North Africa and the Horn of Africa. 

He linked this to the Gospel reading from Matthew 25: 14-30, the parable of the talents, and said that all Christians, whether bishops, ordained or lay, had a calling and have been given gifts, charisms and talents from God. “We need to remember one thing”, he said, “that we do not bury these gifts and talents”. 

The British Consul General Jerusalem, Diane Corner, and the Chief of the US Office of Palestinian Affairs, Mr George Noll, attended the service alongside ecumenical Christian leaders in the region, including the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilus III. 

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The Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilus III alongside Archbishop Hosam
Photo: ACNS

The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by the Revd Dylan Turner, the Church of England’s Anglican Communion Relations Officer, and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion was represented by the Revd Canon Dr Stephen Spencer, Adviser on Theological Education and Lambeth Conference Implementation, and by Gavin Drake, Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion. 

The Revd Dylan Turner read a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. In it, Archbishop Justin praised Archbishop Hosam’s leadership not only in the Diocese of Jerusalem, but also in the Anglican Consultative Council. Archbishop Hosam is Vice Chair of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee. Archbishop Justin also praised Bishop Michael for making “an enormous contribution to the life of the Church in this region and the wider Anglican Communion.” 

Gavin Drake presented a gift to Bishop Michael from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, and also read a message expressing thanks for his global ministry, saying: “I thank you for leading the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and commend your work in a part of the Communion that has complex realities. I pray that the Church continues to grow with love and compassion.” 

Canon Stephen Spencer presented a gift from Bishop Anthony to Archbishop Hosam and read a separate message. “Your ministry as a priest, dean, bishop, archbishop and now primate, has been focused on reconciliation,” Bishop Anthony’s letter read. “Your ecumenical work in the holiest of cities is one example of this. Another example is the challenging role that you and your diocese play in your part of the world. That spirit of reconciliation is needed, too, in the Anglican Communion. I know that you are somebody who strives to bring people together in unity. . . 

“Please be assured that your ministry is surrounded by the prayers of me, my colleagues at the Anglican Communion Office as well as other Anglicans around the world. As we pray for you, we also do as King David extolled us to do: we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).” 

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The Revd Dylan Turner (left) gives a reading and the Revd Stephen Spencer (top right) and Gavin Drake (bottom right) present gifts during the installation of Archbishop Hosam
Photo: ACNS

Archbishop Hosam presented Bishop Michael with an icon of Saint George the Martyr, the local saint of whom the Cathedral in Jerusalem is dedicated. Bishop Michael kissed the icon and said that it had sentimental importance to him because his son, who died in 2017, was named George. 

The following day Bishop Michael preached at an English-Arabic Eucharist service in Saint George’s Cathedral. Taking his text from the New Testament reading of the first letter of Peter, 3:13-end, Bishop Michael asked “Why do some Christians ignore the Counsel of Peter to account for the hope with us with gentleness and respect?” 

He cited the crusades and the ‘hit and run evangelism’ after the 2003 invasion of Iraq as particularly egregious examples, and suggested that the answer might be that some Christians “tend to be afraid of the humility of God revealed in the gentleness of Jesus Christ.” 

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Archbishop Hosam presents Bishop Michael Lewis with an icon of Saint George the Martyr
Photo: ACNS

The service took place two years to the day since Archbishop Hosam was installed as Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Succeeding Bishop Suheil Dawani. Bishop Suheil, also a former primate, took part in the service. A former Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon John Peterson, was also amongst those present.