Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East

Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East

legend|Lime|Diocese of Iran
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is a province of the Anglican Communion stretching from Iran in the east to Algeria in the west, and Cyprus in the north to Somalia in the south. It is the largest and the most diverse Anglican province. The church is headed by a President Bishop, currently the Most Reverend Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, who ranks as a representative primate in the Anglican Communion. The Central Synod of the church is its deliberative and legislative organ. The province is divided into four dioceses:
* The Diocese of Jerusalem — covering Israel, Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon,
* The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf — covering Cyprus, the Gulf states, Arabia and Iraq,
* The Diocese of Egypt with North Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti — also covering Algeria, Tunisia and Libya,
* The Diocese of Iran.Each diocese is headed by a bishop. The President Bishop is chosen from among the diocesan bishops, and retains diocesan responsibility. The current President Bishop also serves as Bishop of Egypt and North Africa. The province estimates that it has around 35,000 baptized members in 55 congregations. The province has around 40 educational or medical establishments and 90 clergy.


The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East began as a number of missionary posts of the Church Mission Society in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. CMS continues to provide the province with lay mission partners and ordained chaplains, but now the majority of its ministry is grown from the local congregations. During the 1820s, CMS began to prepare for permanent missionary stations in the region. In 1833, such a post was established in Jerusalem with the support of the London Jewish Society (a Jewish Christian missionary society). In 1839, the building of the Church of Saint Mark in Alexandria was begun. In 1841, Michael Solomon Alexander, a converted rabbi, arrived in Jerusalem as bishop. His diocese originally covered the mission stations in the Middle East and Egypt, and was a joint venture with the Lutheran church of Prussia (the so-called "Anglo-Prussian Union"), serving Lutherans and Anglicans. In 1845, Christ Church, Jaffa Gate, became the first Anglican church in Jerusalem. In 1881, the Anglo-Prussian Union lapsed, and it was formally ended in 1887. From that time, the diocese became solely Anglican. Saint George's Cathedral was built in 1898 in Jerusalem as a central focus for the diocese.

Although the diocese began as a foreign missionary organisation, it quickly established itself as part of the Palestinian community. In 1905, the Palestinian Native Church Council was established to give Palestinians more say in the running of their church. This led to an increase in the number of Palestinian and Arab clergy serving the diocese. In 1920, the Diocese of Egypt and the Sudan was formed, separate from the Diocese of Jerusalem, with Llewelyn Gwynne as its first bishop. Bishop Gwynne established the second cathedral of All Saints' in Cairo (the present cathedral is the third building) in 1938. In 1945, Sudan became a separate diocese from Egypt (see Episcopal Church of the Sudan for its history). In 1957, the Diocese of Jerusalem was elevated to the rank of an archdiocese (its bishop being an archbishop) under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop in Jerusalem had metropolitan oversight of the entire area of the current province with the addition of the Sudan (five dioceses in all). In that same year, Najib Cubain was consecrated Bishop of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, the first Arab bishop, assistant to the Archbishop in Jerusalem. During the 1950s, political unrest in Egypt left the diocese in the care of four Egyptian clergy under the oversight of the Archbishop in Jerusalem. A new, British Bishop of Egypt was appointed in 1968, and, in 1974, the first Egyptian bishop, Ishaq Musaad, was consecrated. In 1976, Faik Hadad became the first Palestinian Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem.

In 1976, the structure of the Anglican church in the region was overhauled. Jerusalem became an ordinary bishopric, and the four dioceses, as they still stand today, were united as equal partners in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The Archbishop of Canterbury relinquished his metropolitan authority to a Presiding Bishop and the Central Synod. The Diocese of Egypt was greatly expanded to take in the chaplaincies of Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The Sudan became a fully separate and independent province. In 1970, the Cathedral of All Saints' in Cairo was demolished to make way for a new Nile bridge. In 1977, work on a new building on Zamalek was begun, and completed in 1988.


Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf

Diocesan seats — St Paul's Cathedral, Nicosia, Cyprus and St Christopher's Cathedral, Manama, Bahrain.

Bishop — The Right Reverend Michael Augustine Owen Lewis.

The diocese is divided into two archdeaconries: one for Cyprus and one for the Gulf.

Countries served:
*Saudi Arabia
*United Arab Emirates

Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

Diocesan seat — All Saints' Cathedral, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt

Bishop — Right Reverend Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis

80% of the communicants of this diocese are refugees, owing to the civil war in Sudan. The churches of Holy Trinity, Algiers, and Christ Church, Mogadishu, are currently without chaplains due to local unrest.

Countries served:

Diocese of Iran

Diocesan seat — Saint Luke's Church, Isfahan, Iran

Bishop — Right Reverend Azad Marshall

Diocese of Jerusalem

Diocesan seat — Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr, Jerusalem

Bishop — Right Reverend Suheil Dawani

Countries served:
*Palestinian territories

External links

* [http://jerusalem.anglican.org/ The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem]
* [http://www.dioceseofegypt.org/english The Diocese of Egypt]
* [http://cyprusgulf.anglican.org/ The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf]
* [http://www.jmeca.org.uk/ Jerusalem and Middle East Church Association]

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