Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East

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Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
PrimateMichael Lewis
TerritoryIsrael, Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, the Persian Gulf states, Oman, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Iran
  Diocese of Jerusalem
  Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf
  Diocese of Egypt and North Africa
  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 Suheil Dawani, 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:

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 Jerusalem. 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. Today, in Jerusalem, Anglicans constitute a large portion of the Christian community.[weasel words][citation needed]



The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East began as a number of missionary posts of the Church Mission Society (CMS) in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Persia. The Church Mission Society continues to provide the province with lay mission partners and ordained chaplains, but now the majority of its ministry is drawn from local congregations.

During the 1820s, CMS began to prepare for permanent missionary stations in the region.

In 1833, a missionary station was established in Jerusalem with the support of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews (a Jewish Christian missionary society now known as the Church's Ministry Among Jewish People or CMJ). In 1839, the building of the Church of Saint Mark, 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 Evangelical Church in Prussia (the so-called Anglo-Prussian Union), serving Lutherans and Anglicans.

In 1849, Christ Church, Jerusalem, became the first Anglican church in Jerusalem.

In 1871, Christ Church, Nazareth was consecrated by Bishop Samuel Gobat, and the first Arab Anglicans were ordained.[1][2]

In 1881, the Anglo-Prussian Union ceased to function, and it was formally dissolved in 1887. From that time, the diocese became solely Anglican.

In 1888, Bp George Blyth founded the Jerusalem and the East Mission, which would help raise funds for missions throughout the Middle East.

Saint George's Cathedral was built in 1898 in Jerusalem as a central focus for the diocese.

Later history[edit]

Although the diocese of Jerusalem 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 the 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. In the 1920s the Bishop founded St. George's College as a seminary for local clergy-in-training. Bishop Gwynne established the second cathedral of All Saints', 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 See of Jerusalem was elevated to the rank of an archbishopric (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. On 29 August 1974, Faiq Haddad (to become coadjutor bishop in Jerusalem) and Aql Aql (to become Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) were consecrated bishops by Stopford at St George's Cathedral, Jerusalem.[3]

An Anglican 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.

Current position[edit]

In 1976, the structure of the Anglican church in the region was overhauled.[4] Jerusalem became an ordinary bishopric and the four dioceses had equal status 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, with the four dioceses rotating the responsibility of the Bishop President and synodical leadership. The central synod includes the four dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. When a bishop reaches the age of 68 a coadjutor bishop should be elected to work alongside the bishop for two years.[5]

The Diocese of Egypt was expanded to take in the chaplaincies of Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. 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.

President Bishops[edit]

The President Bishops of the Central Synod have been:[6]


Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf[edit]

Diocesan seats are St Paul's Cathedral, Nicosia, Cyprus and St Christopher's Cathedral, Manama, Bahrain. The current bishop is Michael Lewis.

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

Countries served:

Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa[edit]

The diocesan seat is All Saints' Cathedral, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt

The current bishops include: Mouneer Anis, diocesan Bishop of Egypt and Presiding Bishop of the Church in Jerusalem; Bill Musk, Area Bishop for North Africa and Dr. Grant LeMarquand, Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa.[7]

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[edit]

The Diocese of Iran was first established in 1912 as the Diocese of Persia and was incorporated into the Jerusalem Archbishopric in 1957.[8] Currently, there is an episcopal vacancy and the Vicar General is the Revd Albert Walters. The diocesan seat is Saint Luke's Church, Isfahan, Iran.

Diocese of Jerusalem[edit]

The current Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem is Suheil Dawani, who was installed on April 15, 2007.[9]

The Diocese of Jerusalem covers Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The diocesan seat is Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr, Jerusalem.

The parish with the largest congregation is the Church of the Redeemer, Amman, Jordan. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1949, and the church houses both Arabic and English-speaking congregations today.[10]

Anglican realignment[edit]

President Bishop Mouneer Anis was the Chairman of the Global South and one of the seven Anglican archbishops present at the investiture of Foley Beach as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America at 9 October 2014. The seven Primates signed a statement recognizing Beach as a "fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion".[11] The province was represented at GAFCON III, in Jerusalem, on 17–22 June 2018, by a 13 members delegation, from Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.[12]


  1. ^ White, Malcolm (April 2012). "Anglican Pioneers of the Ottoman Period". St Francis Magazine. 8 (2).
  2. ^ Miller, Duane Alexander (October 2012). "Christ Church (Anglican) in Nazareth". St Francis Magazine. 8 (5).
  3. ^ "Consecration of two new Arab bishops". Church Times (#5821). 6 September 1974. p. 2. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 17 June 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  4. ^ Miller, Duane Alexander (August 2011). "Book Review: The Episcopal Church and the Middle East by Charles Thorley Bridgeman". St Francis Magazine. 7 (3): 126.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Diocese of Egypt — The Province (Accessed 7 November 2016)
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ Buchanan, Colin (2009). The A to Z of Anglicanism. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6842-7.
  9. ^ Miller, Duane Alexander (December 2007). "The Installation of a Bishop in Jerusalem: The Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr, 15 April 2007". Anglican and Episcopal History. 76 (4): 549–554. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  10. ^ Miller, Duane Alexander (September 2007). "Morning Prayer, Low Style, in the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem: Church of the Redeemer, Amman, Jordan, Sunday, 11 March 2007". Anglican and Episcopal History. 76 (3): 404–408.
  11. ^ A statement from the Primates of the Global South and the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglican, 14 October 2014, Global South Anglican official website
  12. ^ GAFCON III largest pan-Anglican gathering since Toronto Congress of 1963

External links[edit]