Years ago, mission chaplaincies were established in countries of the Middle East where Anglicans/Episcopalians were living. Some were more specifically directed to the English-speaking expatriate community; some were characterised by a strong evangelistic emphasis reaching out to nationals in their respective countries. In this context, the Anglican Cathedral (St George’s) in Jerusalem became a focal point for Anglican mission work in the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt) as well as a place of worship for Anglicans visiting the Holy Land.
The Province of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East was formed in January 1976 from the former Archbishopric in Jerusalem, encompassing the countries between Iran and Algeria, Syria and Somalia (excluding Sudan). It covers the lands of the Bible and the countries in which Judaism, Christianity and Islam were born. It is a meeting place of ancient and modern civilisations and cultures, and throughout the Middle East, apart from Cyprus, the religion of Islam predominates.
The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf includes Cyprus, the Gulf States, the Arabian peninsula, Iraq and the Yemen. In every part of the diocese, except in Cyprus and Iraq, the congregations are largely expatriate, largely made up of Christians from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and the African continent. Many do not come from an Anglican background but find a welcome church home in our congregations.
The Diocese includes Jerusalem, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. There are many Palestinian congregations, and many expatriate English-speaking congregations as well. Many pilgrims visit Jerusalem and the Holy Land. While St. George’s Cathedral, Guest House and College have particular roles in ministering to them, all the congregations bear witness to the “living stones” of the land.
The Diocese of Egypt is a mixture of expatriate and national congregations, including the countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria officially have only expatriate membership.
The Diocese in Iran is the smallest in the Province, historically made up of Iranian converts from Islam, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. It continues its life and looks for the love and prayers of the whole Church in its faithful witness.