FORMED IN 1976, the Province of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East covers most countries in which Judaism, Christianity and Islam were born.
In some of these countries, to be a Christian is to face hardship; in others, the Anglican Church is a tiny enclave of Christianity where Islam predominates; in yet others, the church is tolerated but may not proselytize or seek converts; in several instances, the church serves a primarily expatriot population.
The province includes four dioceses:
- Jerusalem, including Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank. The diocese is based in Jerusalem. The bishop, Samir Kafity, will retire this summer and be succeeded as diocesan bishop by coadjutor bishop Riah Abu El Assal of Nazareth.
- Iran is based in Isfahan, Iran, and led by Bishop Iraj Mottahedeh. The church in Iran has been described as “the hidden church” because of the difficult political situation there. There are few Anglicans. They consist of one bishop, one priest and a few parishioners.
- Egypt and North Africa, including Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. The diocese is based in Cairo and led by Bishop Ghais Abdul Malek, who is also President Bishop (primate) of the province.
- Cyprus and the Gulf, which includes the island of Cyprus and the Gulf States, Iraq and Yemen. The diocese is based in Nicosia, Cyprus and led by Bishop Clive Handford. The church in Cyprus ministers primarily to an expatriot population of Anglicans and to visitors.