By H.G. Archbishop Angaelos
“He may comfort every heart and strengthen every spirit as we continue on our journey towards His Kingdom” H.G. Archbishop Angaelos | The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London. [Official Diocese Pastoral Letter in English]
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. One God. Amen.
We have certainly been on a remarkable journey since my last Nativity message to you. This past year has been a year of incredible challenge that has led to suffering, illness, anxiety and hardship for many we know, and sadly the loss of loved ones for some, but during the Feast of the Nativity especially, we can find comfort in our Lord Jesus Christ, Who saw it fit to leave His Kingdom and visit His children, so as to grant reconciliation, hope and life, that He may comfort every heart and strengthen every spirit as we continue on our journey towards His Kingdom.
While the challenges of this year are great for many of us, this has also been a year in which we have witnessed exceptional kindness, generosity and resilience, and for that, we can truly give thanks. Starting from the daily acts of love for families living the most extraordinary circumstances and neighbours supporting one another throughout difficult times to the incredible service of our National Health Service, teachers and frontline support providers who have served the whole community with incredible courage, commitment and dedication. We must never forget the many members of our own community who work in these sectors throughout Britain.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” [John 15:13] H.G. Archbishop Angaelos | The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London. [Official Diocese Pastoral Letter in English]
While we marvel at the incredible generosity we have seen, we also give thanks that it is very much part of our Christian ethos to give and be selfless for one another, remembering that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16) and that “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). These two principles are at the very heart of the Nativity story and the mission of our gracious Saviour to all His children. The coming of the Saviour was a true act of love. Some may consider it entirely unnecessary, as He could have saved humanity from His Kingdom, and yet He chose to come and dwell among us, walk with us, suffer with us and die with us, that we may rise and live with Him.
“I pray that we continue to live the selflessness we have experienced over the past year into this New Year and beyond, so the desire to love and sacrifice continues to burn in our hearts and be evident in our words and our deeds.” H.G. Archbishop Angaelos | The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London. [Official Diocese Pastoral Letter in English]
The laying down of one’s life is manifest in a variety of ways that develop and mature according to our own experiences. At the outset, we may sacrifice for others begrudgingly, then reluctantly, then out of a feeling of necessity, but finally, it becomes so instinctive and natural that it becomes all we can do, not even recognizing what is done as a sacrifice but as a natural gift for those we love, including our neighbours, and even more astonishingly, our enemies.
As we continue to learn from the selfless act of the Incarnation of the Word, I pray that we continue to live the selflessness we have experienced over the past year into this New Year and beyond, so the desire to love and sacrifice continues to burn in our hearts and be evident in our words and our deeds.
Archbishop Angaelos | The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London
About Archbishop Angaelos
Archbishop Angaelos was born in Egypt and emigrated to Australia in his early childhood with his family. After obtaining his degree in Political Science, Philosophy and Sociology, Archbishop Angaelos continued on to postgraduate studies in law while working in the same field. In 1990 Archbishop Angaelos returned to Egypt to the Monastery of St Bishoy in Wadi-El-Natroun where he was consecrated a monk by the late Pope Shenouda III and served as his private secretary until 1995 when he was delegated to serve in the United Kingdom. He was proclaimed Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London on 11 November 2017 in Egypt, and enthroned over the new Diocese on 18 November 2017 at the Cathedral of Saint George in England.
About The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London
In February 1969, a historic Liturgy was celebrated in London by the then Bishop Shenouda, the late Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory, who encouraged the faithful to hold regular services, which subsequently led to the hiring of St Andrew’s church in Holborn. Copts would gather from across the United Kingdom to pray there until 1978 when, returning to London as Pope Shenouda III, His Holiness consecrated St Mark church in Kensington as the first Coptic Orthodox parish in Europe.
The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland now has approximately 27,000 faithful across 32 parishes, with the number of these parishes constantly increasing. These have thus far been served by three dioceses: the diocese of Birmingham, the Midlands and its affiliated regions, served by HG Bishop Missael, the Diocese of Scotland, Ireland and North East England, served by HG Bishop Antony, and the Papal Diocese covering London, the South of England and South Wales, in which Archbishop Angaelos has served as His Holiness the Pope’s delegate since 1999.
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2021-01-07 from London, United Kingdom
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