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Bishop Angaelos awarded for service to Christian unity

by Hannah Tooley

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, awarded him the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism, the highest honour bestowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1939.

Bishop Angaelos said: "I am honoured and humbled to receive the Lambeth Cross from His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"I believe this is a crucial time for us to work and witness together as Churches, Christian leaders and Christians as a whole, to send a more positive and encouraging message of who we are and what we stand for, and to speak for those who struggle here in Britain, in the Middle East and around the world."

Justin Welby said: "My encounter with Orthodoxy through you has been a really profound experience in my life.

"It has changed much of my understanding of what the Church is universally.

"I have never had that much engagement with Orthodoxy, and certainly not with Coptic Orthodoxy.

"I found a completely different understanding, a much deeper sense of being drawn into the Body of Christ, and this is a recognition of the importance of your role in presenting to the United Kingdom and to the Church that we belong to one another in Christ."

"[this] has been a major step forward in my own spiritual journey, and His Grace has been a major feature in that; and it is part of what he has done in England across many communities, including of course with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales."

Bishop Angaelos responded: "This has been a wonderful time for a great partnership.

"The fact that there is an opportunity to work with Your Grace, with the Church of England, and with the Anglican Communion worldwide to advocate for others is wonderful because it comes at a time at which we must stand together.

"Your Grace and the Church of England have been very vocal on these issues, along with, as you mentioned, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

"It is time for us to speak collaboratively and powerfully. It is only by the world seeing us standing together and witnessing that what we have in common is more than what separates us, that it realises that we have common ground, especially for those who are not so privileged as we are to speak."

Just days earlier Bishop Angaelos received the Coventry Cross of Nails at Coventry Cathedral.

The two awards were preceded by Bishop Angaelos being conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for 'Services to International Religious Freedom' by Her Majesty The Queen in 2015. These three awards represent three core components of His Grace's ministry: Ecumenism, Reconciliation and Religious Freedom, alongside his pastoral and youth ministry.

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