Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Westminster Abbey service celebrates Middle East Christians

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attended a service to celebrate the contribution of Christians in the Middle East, at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 4th December.

The service was led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:

In this Advent season, as we approach the celebration of Christmas, our hearts and minds turn to the cradle of our civilisation, and in particular to Bethlehem as the birth-place of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

So we pray for all the people of the Holy Land and of the surrounding nations. We pray that they may live in harmony one with another, respecting difference and celebrating common humanity. And we pray for peace within each nation and between all peoples of whatever faith.

The Prince of Wales read a Reflection expressing concern for the difficult situations endured by Christians in the region, and support for those communities most affected.

Further Reflections were read by His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, Director General and Chief Imam, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society.

The Address was given by the Right Honourable and Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England, and Metropolitan.

Sister Nazek Matty, Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Sienna, Iraq, read a Testimony.Bob Fyffe, General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, read Job 38: 1-11; and the Most Reverend Suheil Dawani, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, read St Luke 8: 16-21 in Arabic.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor, and said by: the Very Reverend Dr Shafiq Abouzayd, Archimandrite, Melkite Greek Catholic Church; His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London; the Right Reverend Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough; Father Timothy Radcliffe OP; the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence.

The Coptic Diocesan Choir sang the Introit, O King of Peace; and the Choir of the Syriac Orthodox Church in London chanted The Lord’s Prayer.

The service was sung by an octet from the Special Service Choir of Westminster Abbey, directed by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist. The organ was played by Alexander Hamilton, Organ Scholar.

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