16th November 2016

Bishop Angaelos, The General Bishop of the Egyptian Coptic Church.

Bishop Angaelos

We had the privilege to receive Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Egyptian Coptic Church at All Nations. Bishop Angaelos is a well-known advocate of religious freedom for which he was given an OBE.

He arrived in his bishop’s vestments, which are all black and began by telling us that, in the House of Lords, the previous evening he was asked whether he was there for the fashion show, which was called, “Black is the New Black”!

Bishop Angaelos is based in the Egyptian Coptic Church in Stevenage, a Church which is associated with 30 other local churches. The Egyptian Coptic Church can trace its birth back to AD54 and the witness of Mark, the writer of the second Gospel. He is in unbroken line—bishop to bishop—right back to Mark.

Bishop Angaelos was speaking at our Contemporary Issues in Mission session on ‘Christian Witness in the Middle East’ (on the challenges & opportunities experienced across the denominations). He encouraged us that the Christian Church in the Middle East has survived 2000 years and has outlasted governments, empires and ideologies and it will continue because God is the God of history.

He reminded us that it is the responsibility of every believer to preach the Gospel. This preaching can be in speaking, but is also valid in writing, and being a good parent. The Church is to be a light in the midst of darkness and life in the midst of death.

He works in the area of Religious freedom, and finds himself speaking out on behalf of Bahai’s, Yazidi’s and Muslims rather than Copts. This, he believes gives him more moral authority.

In response to a question about the persecution the Coptic Church has suffered in the years since the Arab Spring, he responded by saying that the persecution has given the  Church the chance they needed to be a true, bright and shining witness to Christ. When the Church was attacked and many buildings destroyed, the Churches did not react in revenge but stood solidly. And when 21 Copts were murdered by IS, their courage and refusal to recant, and how they died with the name of Christ on their lips was a great witness.

His insights were both an encouragement and a challenge, many, if not all of our students will at some point engage with Islam.

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