ANGLICAN CHURCH IN EGYPT
Since 1815, when the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in London commissioned William Jowett to lead a team of missionaries, whose initial mandate was not to make converts among Muslims but to seek to bring about the “enlightenment and elevation” of “those who are already outwardly members of Christian churches,” the Anglican Church has been active in Egypt. Jowett was well received by the Coptic Orthodox patriarch, who granted him letters to principal priests and monasteries. From 1824 to 1862 CMS missionaries, mostly Lutherans from the Basel Missionary Society, journeyed throughout Egypt, distributing scriptures and tracts.
In a separate but parallel development, expatriate members of the Anglican communion in Egypt grouped together to hold services and build churches in Alexandria and Cairo. The first Anglican Church in Egypt was consecrated in 1855; this was the Church of Saint Mark in Alexandria. It was served by chaplains appointed by the bishop of London until the formation of the Diocese of Egypt and the Sudan in 1920.
In 1887 the CMS returned to Egypt with a mandate to develop schools and hospitals as part of an attempt to evangelize Muslims. They also formed church congregations and established perhaps the first social welfare center in Egypt. In 1925 forty Egyptian members of CMS-founded congregations were constituted as the (Arabic) Episcopal Church in Egypt. The first Egyptian was ordained to the Episcopal ministry later that year. Since then there have been ten further Egyptian ordinations. There were in 1984 five Egyptian congregations served by five national clergymen: the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels, Heliopolis; the Church of Jesus the Light of the World, Old Cairo; the Church of the Good Shepherd, Giza; the Egyptian congregation of All Saints’ Cathedral, Zamalek; and a small congregation attached to the hospital in Minuf.
The Episcopal diocese of Egypt is geographically the largest of the four dioceses that comprise the province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The Episcopal church is one of the smallest denominations in Egypt, and total church membership in the diocese is estimated at about one thousand. Only in Egypt itself is there an indigenous congregation; elsewhere members are exclusively expatriate.
- Burrell, A. Cathedral on the Nile, A History of All Saints’ Cathedral, Cairo. Oxford, 1984.
- Lasbrey, F. O. These Fifty Years, The Story of the Old Cairo Medical Mission from 1889 to 1939, 2nd ed. Cairo, 1946.
- Parry, E. G. “Unto Him Be the Glory in the Church,” Being an Account of the Arabic Anglican Church in Egypt. Cairo, 1937.
- Vander Werff, L. L. Christian Mission to Muslims: The Record, Anglican and Reformed Approaches in India and the Near East, 1800 to 1938. South Pasadena, Calif., 1977.