Iraqi refugee becomes Anglican priest

New Westminster Bishop Melissa Skelton introduces the Rev. Fr. Ayoob Adwar as a new priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: Wayne Chose 
Published April 24, 2017

Fr. Ayoob Shawkat Adwar, a priest in the Chaldean Catholic Church, was received as an Anglican priest at a ceremony in Surrey, B.C. March 26.

The event was a “small but significant piece of history,” says Archdeacon Stephen Rowe, rector of the Anglican Parish of the Church of the Epiphany in Surrey, since he is thought to be the first Chaldean priest in history to have become a member of the Anglican clergy.

Originally from Mosul, Iraq—heartland of the Chaldean church—Adwar was ordained as a Chaldean priest in 2008. His family began to arrive in Canada about five years ago, and Adwar himself followed in 2014, when he was granted refugee status.

At around the same time, a group of Chaldeans began worshipping at the Church of the Epiphany. In Advent of 2014, Melissa Skelton, bishop of New Westminster, gave her permission for a Chaldean Rite Mass to take place at the church. Over time, Anglicans and Chaldeans at the church started attending each other’s services and learning more about each other’s traditions.

Meanwhile, Adwar had declared an interest in becoming an Anglican priest, and began a discernment process. He was confirmed as an Anglican in December, 2016; that ceremony, like his reception as an Anglican priest, was presided over by Skelton.

Adwar, who is fluent in both Arabic and modern Aramaic—a Middle Eastern language derived from the language of Jesus—will serve as a curate in the diocese of New Westminster, working with an experienced Anglican priest.

This story was based on an article written by Jevon Anonby for the diocese of New Westminster website.


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