Your Grace, dear Archbishop Hosam,
Dear Mrs Naoum,
Your Grace, Archbishop Michael,
Faithful Members of the Anglican Church,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We greet you warmly, dear Archbishop Hosam, and your wife and family, on this blessed occasion when you are celebrating both the Feast of the Ascension and your enthronement with the formal beginning of your ministry as the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem.
You are the fifteenth bishop to serve the Anglican Community in Jerusalem, and with your clergy and people, we give thanks to Almighty God that you have been chosen for this responsibility.
As you know full well, you come to your new role at a time of great challenge and a great opportunity. This is a difficult time for our city and for this region. We are still living with the pandemic and its profound social, economic, and spiritual consequences.
There is disturbing political and social unrest, and the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land face new and growing threats from radical elements who seek to undermine the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious landscape here, in which we have lived for centuries. The Christian character of Jerusalem and the Holy Land is under threat as never before in our lifetime.
Even so, as Saint Paul says, we do not lose heart. In this joyful Eastertide, we are renewed in our hope of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Places, of which the Divine Providence has made us guardians and servants, remain sources of spiritual refreshment both for the local Christian community and for the countless pilgrims.
As the new Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese, you bring considerable experience, especially in your highly respected role over many years as the Secretary of the Heads of Churches, among whom you now take your rightful place as the Anglican Archbishop.
We also know of the new hope that your new ministry brings to your community.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Anglican Church in the Holy Land have had a long and close history of mutual respect and affection and common purpose in the good state of the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
We look forward to deepening our relationship over the years of your leadership and finding fresh ways of journeying on the path of unity.
We must never give up our commitment to the full, sacramental unity in Christ that is His will for all who call themselves Christians.
The Orthodox Church and the Anglican Community share a special bond, not the least in our common patristic heritage, and this is a foundation on which we can build even closer relations here in our region.
We would like to take this opportunity to mention once again our respect and admiration for your predecessor, Archbishop Suheil, for his committed pastoral ministry and for his attentive collaboration among the Heads of Churches, and we wish him and his wife, Saffeeqa, a happy and healthy retirement.
We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the role of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury in his unwavering support for us and for the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
Archbishop Justin, like his predecessors, continues to be a good friend and ally to us here, and for this, we are extremely grateful.
May God bless you, dear Archbishop Hosam, your wife, Rafa, and your family, and all the clergy and people committed to your charge, and may our risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ enlighten your heart and your mind as you assume this new trust and responsibility.