A special service has been held in London this week to commemorate the Coptic Feast of Nayrouz, marking the new Coptic Year.
The service, held in at St Margaret’s Anglican Church, Westminster, on Tuesday 30 October 2012, was the first of its kind for the Coptic community in Britain.
the development is seen as an important milestone by the church's leaders and members alike.
The service was attended by members of the House of Lords, the Speaker of the House of Commons, as well as heads and representatives of numerous Christian churches and denominations, and inter-religious governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The Rev Canon Andrew Tremlett, rector of St Margaret’s, welcomed the congregation on behalf of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey.
A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury was read by Canon Jonathan Goodall, his personal secretary.
During the service, which was conducted mainly in English with some Coptic, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, addressed the changing political climate in Egypt, the challenges faced in the Middle East, and the application of democracy in the region.
Bishop Angaelos also spoke about the Coptic papal selection process and the general state of Christians in Egypt.
He declared: "At this significant time in the contemporary history of the Coptic Orthodox Church, we are prayerfully waiting for the announcement of the 118th Pope of Alexandria while at the same time hopeful that God can use this opportunity of change in Egypt to provide a heart for all where the rights, liberties, entitlements, and responsibilities of every person are considered equally before society and the law."
The new Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church will be chosen on 4 November 2012. A vote to reduce the list of five candidates was held on Monday 29 October.
The final three candidates are Bishop Roufail, Bishop Tawadrous and Fr Rafael Ava-Mina.
* Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK: http://copticmedia.webeden.co.uk/