St Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey welcomed Coptic Christians for the service of Raising Evening Incense for the Celebration of El Nayrouz, which marks the beginning of the Coptic New Year, on Tuesday 10th September 2013.
The Rector of St Margaret's, the Reverend Canon Andrew Tremlett, welcomed His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, and a congregation of nearly 400.
The sermon was given by Bishop Angaelos and addresses were given by The Baroness Cox of Queensbury, representing the House of Lords; the Right Honourable Alistair Burt MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; and the Right Honourable John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.
A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, was read by the Right Reverend Dr Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, and The Countess of Verulam, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, read a message from HM The Queen.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the most ancient churches in the world and was founded by St Mark the Apostle in the first century. The word ‘Coptic’ comes from the Greek word ‘Aigyptus’ which means Egypt.
There are 20,000 Coptic Christians in the UK. They are currently deeply concerned about followers in Egypt who have died during attacks on churches during the country’s political upheaval.