A new province for the Anglican Church was established on Friday at 6 pm under the title of the Anglican Province of Alexandria in All Saints Cathedral in Cairo’s Zamalek, with the attendance of Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the spiritual leader of the Anglican church.
A procession of bishops and archbishops moved from the Cathedral’s yard to the church’s altar, headed by Welby who was followed by archbishops who attended from all corners of the globe. The convoy also included the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Alexandria, Sami Fawzi, and Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Province of Alexandria, Mounir Hanna, in addition to a number of priests and deacons.
Teams of hymn singers in Egyptian and Sudanese dialects participated in the event, and sign language translation was offered during the ceremony, for better inclusion of believers with hearing impairments whether Egyptian, Sudanese, or foreign.
With Alexandria being the main seat of the newly launched province, Welby referred to the city’s important cultural role and religious value.
“Alexandria, the ancient center of learning is a wonderful name for the Province,” he said.
“A thousand years ago this area preserved medicine and learning. Today Egypt has again found its historic place as a place of meeting, of refuge. It has been so from before Jacob and Joseph, it rescued the Holy family. It is a crossroads of world trade, a cradle of urban civilization when Europeans were still fighting with sticks and clubs, painting themselves blue.”
The history of the Anglican church in Egypt dates back to 200 years ago when a number of Anglican Christians wished to establish a place of worship during the rule of Mohammed Ali Pasha. At the time, Ali designated a piece of land to build the first Anglican church in Alexandria, according to an Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Province of Alexandria, Mounir Hanna.
The church plays a major role in offering health and educational services, in addition to serving refugees and people in prison, Hanna added.
“The church has also played an important role in the dialogue between the Anglican Communion and al-Azhar. The church also launched many initiatives to support national and sectarian unity,” he added.
The expansion of the Anglican church’s activities, Hanna said, has encouraged the church to submit a request to turn the Egyptian diocese into an independent province.