Coptic New Year Vespers Service Celebrated in Westminster Abbey
The second annual Coptic Nayrouz Vespers Service took place on 10 September 2013 in St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom.
HG Bishop Angaelos and HE Metropolitan Seraphim celebrated the vespers prayers with many of the Coptic congregation as well as dignitaries from the House of Commons and representatives from other Christian churches and religious organisations.
HG Bishop Angaelos spoke of the importance of having a new start both on a personal spiritual level and in a nationwide sense touching on the struggles in Egypt and Syria.
This mirrored the words of HH Pope Tawadros in his first sermon in the Cathederal for several weeks due to the ongoing strife in Egypt. His Holiness remarked, “"We believe that [Egypt] is like a woman in labour, who is in pain. After a few hours, all of this will turn into happiness when a child is born and a new life begins,"
Messages were read out including one on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen who said “I send my warmest wishes to you all for a most memorable service to mark the new Coptic Year”.
A further message from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Cantaur was read the full text is below:
Your Grace Bishop Angaelos, Dear Friends,
In sending warmest greetings of Christian love and fellowship to my brothers and sisters of the Coptic Orthodox Church as you celebrate the New Year, my prayers for you are deeply informed by my recent visit to Cairo, where it was a privilege and joy to meet with Pope Tawadros. Together with Pope Francis the three of us have come to positions of leadership during difficult times for our world and especially for Egypt.
Since our meeting events in Egypt and indeed the wider region, have driven us all to prayer for wisdom and courage to face the future with hope and a commitment to work for peace. Today my prayers are with the people of Egypt and as you enter the Coptic New Year with inevitable anxiety, I pray especially for the Coptic Orthodox Church.
May God guide and protect you as you bear faithful witness to God who reconciles the world in Christ. May God’s Spirit comfort you in sorrow and pain and strengthen you for the challenges ahead. May Christ’s love and joy be the source of your life and all you do in His name.
With every blessing for this New Year celebration
+ Justin Cantaur