A new province has been created and will be added to the global Anglican Communion.
The international secretariat of the Anglican Communion, the global body of Anglicans led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has confirmed the inauguration of its newest member.
The new province of Alexandria, rooted in Egypt but serving ten countries across North Africa and the Horn of Africa, will become the Anglican Communion's 41st Province.
Named after the ancient city in the north of Egypt, it will be the official Anglican Communion presence in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Chad, Mauritania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.
It will have four dioceses: Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Gambella. In addition to its spiritual ministry, the new province will continue the work of the former diocese in community development, healthcare and education. It will also continue to play a leading role in interfaith dialogue within the Anglican Communion.
The first Primate of the new Province will be Archbishop Mouneer Anis (pictured).
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: "In recent years we have seen enormous growth in what was the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, particularly - but not only - in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. It was one of the largest and most diverse dioceses in the Anglican Communion and also one of the fastest growing regions.
"It is great credit to Archbishop Mouneer and the clergy and people of the diocese that this growth occurred in spite of the great cultural diversity and complex political situations in the region it serves.
"The transition...to four dioceses in a new Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria will provide a great foundation for further growth and stability for Anglican Christians in the region; and I warmly congratulate the new Province on its transition."
Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said that he was "absolutely delighted" to welcome the inauguration of the new Province of Alexandria, saying: "Of course it has been part of the Anglican Communion for very many years, going right back into the past...but now with growth and development and the planting of churches in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere; with its service to its community regardless of ethnicity or of religion, it has grown to the point where it is now becoming an independent Province.
"Circumstances mean that I have not been able to go and join them as I would have liked to have done; but that makes no difference, for God is with them. In Jesus Christ they are full of life and hope; by the power of the Spirit they are continuing to serve and love amidst challenges that every church faces.
"May it draw on the history of the saints and their inspiration; and may it proclaim the Gospel afresh in this generation. Amen!"
The new Primate, Archbishop Mouneer Anis, said: "The early church in Alexandria has shaped the Christian thought of the whole world during the first millennium. It is our prayers that the new Province of Alexandria would do the same during the third millennium."