Saints from many “nations, tribes, people and languages” gathered at All Saints Cathedral, Cairo, on 2 November 2013 for the celebration of its 75th Anniversary. The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, welcomed the people and prayed these words: “Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate the consecration of this house of prayer 75 years ago: we praise you for the many blessings you have given to this worshipping and witnessing community: and we pray that all who seek you in this place may find you, and being filled with the Holy Spirit may become a living temple acceptable to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
It was an honour to have the Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Dr. John Sentamu preaching at the 75th Anniversary celebrations, as his predecessor, The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Dr. William Temple, participated in the consecration of the first All Saints Cathedral in 1938. In his sermon Archbishop Sentamu addressed the question, “who are the saints” and encouraged the congregation to be a people whose light is lit by the Holy Spirit. He used an example of a glove which is useless without that which fills the glove, saying that our lives need the Holy Spirit in order to be fully functional.
It was also quite moving to have The Rt. Rev. Dr. Ghais Abdel Malik, who consecrated the second All Saints Cathedral in 1988, give the apostolic blessing at the close of the service.
The service of thanksgiving and celebration showed the diversity of a Diocese which covers eight countries, and included many different styles of music, prayers, and thanksgiving. In recognition of his faithful service to the Dialogue between the Anglican Communion and Al Azhar Al Sherif, Bishop Mouneer Anis installed the Rev. Dr. Toby Howarth, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs, as an Honorary Canon of All Saints Cathedral (in the Chair of St. Augustine). Bishop Mouneer Anis also licensed the Rev. Yessua Bekheet, formerly of St. John the Baptist Church in Maadi, to be a priest at All Saints Cathedral.
The service was attended by other religious and civic leaders, such as Anba Musa (the Coptic Orthodox Bishop for Youth), Anba Daniel (the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Maadi) and Anba Armeia (the Coptic Orthodox Bishop for the Coptic-Orthodox Cultural Council) all representing His Holiness, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church, H.E. Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobat (the Papal Nuncio representing His Holiness, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church), Monseigneur Krikor Coussa (representing the Armenian Catholic Church), Anba Antonius (the Bishop of Giza, representing His Beatitude, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac of the Coptic Catholic Church), Abuna Rafiq Greiche (representing the Melkite Greek Catholic Church), Rev. Dr. Gerald Lauche (representing the German Evangelical Church), Dr. Ramzy George (the Minister of Scientific Research, representing the Prime Minister of Egypt), General Mohsen Abd-el Naby (representing the Commander-in-Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of the Armed Forces), Dr. Mohammed Hamdy Zaqzouq (the previous Minister of Religious Affairs), Ambassador Ashraf Mouneer (representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Dr. Mahmoud Azab (representing the Grand Imam, Dr. Ahmed el Tayyib), Dr. Waheed Abd-Gowad (representing the Grand Mufti of Egypt), Dr. Ali Samman (President of the Committee for Interfaith Dialogue and Islamic Relations at Egypt’s Supreme Islamic Council and former Advisor to President Anwar Sadat), General Mohame Aymen (representing the Governor of Cairo), H.E. Ambassador James Watt (representing Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II), H.E. Ambassador Richard Laus Angualia (representing the People of the Republic of Uganda), H.E. Ambassador Anthony Louis Kon (representing the People of the Republic of South Sudan), The Rev. Toby Howarth (representing His Grace, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury), The Rev. Canon Michael Parker (International Director of MECO), The Rev. Richard Belser (representing our companion Diocese of South Carolina, USA), The Rev. Canon Anthony Ball (representing the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and the Bishop of Europe, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Rowell), among others.
His Grace, Bishop Mouneer Anis reminded those present that “as we look back and celebrate 75 years of All Saints Cathedral, let us be reminded of the faithfulness of God to those in the past, to those in the present, and to those who are to come; let us look to God to guide the future ministry of All Saints Cathedral.”
All Saints Cathedral is the mother church of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and is a place of prayer for all nations and a place of peace for all people. It is a spiritual home for locals and expatriates, and each day, hundreds of people come to the Cathedral to serve and to be served through its ministries: Refuge Egypt, the Alexandria School of Theology, the Boulaq Community Development Centre, Prison Ministry, Alpha, the Wady Shop, All Saint’s Nursery, All Saints Library, Interfaith Dialogue, Ecumenical Relations, Youth Ministry, as well as the Arabic, Sudanese, and English-speaking congregations.