At a ceremony hosted by Lambeth Palace in London yesterday the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism was awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby to three leading ecumenists. Amongst the three was the co-chair of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.
The other two recipients of the Lambeth Cross were His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios (left) of the Greek Orthodox diocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and Revd. Canon Simon Stephens (right) who was for some years the Anglican chaplain in Moscow where he worked closely with the Russian Orthodox Church.
The LOI would like to congratulate all three men, but especially Bishop Angaelos, on this award which reflects their deep commitment to ecumenical relationships in contexts which bring together Orthodox and evangelical communities. Bishop Angaelos’ citation reads:
“Awarded to His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, for his contributions to ecumenical and interfaith engagement and his tireless commitment to peace and reconciliation.
“Under the leadership of His Grace Bishop Angaelos, the Coptic community has become an active and valued presence in UK society. In establishing the Coptic Centre in Stevenage, Bishop Angaelos has provided for the community at large a vibrant hub for ecumenical and interfaith engagement. As a friend of the Church of England he has actively fostered deeper understanding and collaboration between our two churches. He played a key part in the resumption of the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission after a break of ten years.
“Bishop Angaelos has been a powerful advocate for peace and reconciliation. His public interventions concerning the political instability in Egypt and the Middle East, for example, sounded a reasonable and conciliatory tone, spoken from personal integrity and experience.
“He addressed the General Synod of the Church of England in July 2013, calling for pragmatic and intentional leadership in Egypt and for national reconciliation. At his request a meeting of solidarity and a service of prayer for Christians in the Middle East under the theme ‘rejoicing in their faith and sharing in their collective pain’ was held at Lambeth Palace and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was one of the earliest such initiatives attended by church leaders and community representatives in the UK.
“Bishop Angaelos is widely consulted by parliamentary groups, non-governmental organisations and partner churches for his insight on the situation of Christians and other minorities in Egypt and the Middle East. He is a Christian leader and an influential and significant advocate for peace and reconciliation. His legacy will continue to enrich and strengthen the Churches across Britain.”