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A Brief History of the Diocese of Egypt

The Start of Christianity in Egypt

While Jesus, Mary and Joseph took refuge in Egypt under the persecution of Herod, tradition states that Christianity officially came to Egypt through St Mark the Evangelist who became Egypt’s first Patriarch and Pope.

Alexandria soon became the centre for learning, boasting the Library of Alexandria and the Catechetical School.  Soon after, Ptolemy Philadelphus ordered Jewish scholars to translate the Bible into Greek, which became known as the Septuagint. In the third century, “the Holy Bible, in its two Testaments, the Old and the New, was translated from the Greek to the Coptic language” and St Athanasius, Pope and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, defeated Arianism resulting in the creedal statement of 325 AD known as the Nicene Creed.

The Anglican presence in Egypt

1819 - first CMS missionary to Egypt

1839 - Land given to the Anglican Church and St Mark’s Anglican Church in Alexandria, Egypt was consecrated on 17th December.

1876 - On 23rd January, All Saints’, initially "just a small parish church" was consecrated in Cairo, Egypt by Bishop Samuel Gobat with the Duke of Sutherland laying the foundation stone.

1888 - Revd Llewellyn Gwynne and Dr Frank Harpur established hospitals and clinics in Egypt

1899 - Revd Llewellyn Gwynne and Dr Frank Harpur travelled to Sudan to establish medical clinics and schools

1905 - Revd Llewellyn Gwynne appointed archdeacon for the Sudan

1908 - Archdeacon Llewellyn Gwynne consecrated as suffragan bishop of Khartoum, under the Diocese of Jerusalem

1909 - St Mary’s Church consecrated near the British outposts in Garden City (Cairo)

1912 - All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum consecrated (History of All Saints Cathedral)

1914-1916 - Egypt became a British Protectorate and the Bishop of Jerusalem decided “the time had come for the construction in Cairo of a church worthy of our religion and our name.”  

1920 - The Diocese of Egypt and the Sudan was formed with The Rt Revd Llewelyn Gwynne as its first bishop (enthroned on 21 November 1921)

During World War I and World War II, the British established chaplaincies throughout the Middle East and The Mission to the Seafarers was of great importance. St Mary’s Church served as the Pro-Cathedral from during World War I and again from 1925-1938. 

1938 - St Mary’s Church sold to the Greek Catholic Church and the St Mary’s Waqf started (now managed by JMECA for the benefit of the diocese). 

1938 - On 25 April, the Feast of St Mark, patron saint of Egypt, Bishop Gwynne established the second All Saints Cathedral in Cairo and the Archbishop of York, Dr. William Temple, consecrated it.

1950 - The “Episcopal Church in Egypt” was formed under Bishop Geoffrey Allen to distance itself from the Church of England due to the sense of colonialism following World War II. 

1956 - after a decade of political unrest in Egypt, the government forced all expatriates to repatriate, leaving only four Egyptian clergy, temporarily under the direct oversight of the Archbishop in Jerusalem.  Sadly many Anglican churches in Egypt were destroyed, some were taken by or given to other denominations.

1963 - All Saints Cathedral was given notice by President Gamal Abdel Nasser of its future demolition to make way for the bridge connecting El Gezira to Ramses.

1974 - Following a new era of training and equipping indigenous leaders, the first Egyptian bishop, Isaaq Musaad was consecrated. 

1978 - All Saints Cathedral was destroyed ridding the Cairo skyline of anything “Christian” or “colonial.” 

1984 - Ghais Abdel Malik became the second Egyptian bishop (1984-2000) and later the President Bishop of the Province (1996-2000). 

1988 - On the Feast of St. Mark, 25 April, the third and present All Saints Cathedral in Cairo.

2000 - Bishop Mouneer Anis became the third Egyptian bishop (2000-present).

2007 - Bishop Mouneer Anis became President Bishop of the Province (2007-2017). 

2007 - Bishop Mouneer consecrated Andrew Proud to be the first “Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa” covering Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Dijibouti due to the large geographical area of the Diocese, the varying cultures and languages, and the increase in ministry

2009 - Bishop Mouneer consecrated Dr Bill Musk to be the first “Area Bishop for North Africa” covering Algeria, Tunisia and Libya

2012 - Bishop Mouneer consecrated Dr Grant LeMarquand as the second “Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa” 

2017 - Bishop Mouneer consecrated Bishop Samy Fawzy as the first Arab “Area Bishop of Horn of Africa”

The current Bishops