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Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem


Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem

This article is about the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem. For holders of offices titled "Patriarch of Jerusalem", see Patriarch of Jerusalem (disambiguation).
Bishop of Jerusalem
Ecclesiastical province Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and The Middle East
Congregations 29
Members ca. 7000
Cathedral St George's Cathedral, Jerusalem
Current leadership
Bishop Suheil Dawani

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem is the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem, which is a part of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and The Middle East, and based at St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem. The Diocese of Jerusalem covers Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The diocese covers 7,000 Anglicans, with 35 service institutions, 29 parishes, 1500 employees, 200 hospital beds and 6,000 students.[1] From 1957 to 1976 the ordinary held the rank and title of Archbishop of Jerusalem. Today, Anglicans constitute a large portion of Jerusalem's Christians.

The current, fourteenth Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem is Suheil Salman Ibrahim Dawani, who was elected Coadjutor Bishop on June 15, 2005 and was officially installed as Bishop on April 15, 2007.[2] He succeeded Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal, who retired on March 31, 2007 at the prescribed retirement age of 70 years.[3]

In August 2010, Israel declined to renew the residency permits for Bishop Dawani and his family, claiming the bishop had been engaged in fraudulent land deals on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.[4] After legal proceedings were commenced and following political pressure from a number of Christian churches and leaders, the permits was renewed on 26 September 2011.[5]


The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East began as a number of missionary posts of the Church Mission Society (CMS) in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The Church Mission Society continues to provide the province with lay mission partners and ordained chaplains, but now the majority of its ministry is drawn from local congregations.

During the 1820s, CMS began to prepare for permanent missionary stations in the region.

In 1833, a missionary station was established in Jerusalem with the support of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews (a Jewish Christian missionary society now known as the Church's Ministry Among Jewish People or CMJ). In 1839, the building of the Church of Saint Mark, Alexandria was begun.

In 1841, Michael Solomon Alexander, a converted rabbi, arrived in Jerusalem as the first Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem. His diocese originally covered the mission stations in the Middle East and Egypt, and was a joint effort with the united Evangelical Church in Prussia (the so-called Anglo-Prussian Union) for Anglicans and united Calvinists and Lutherans - see Anglican-German Bishopric in Jerusalem.

In 1849, Christ Church, Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate became the first Anglican/Lutheran church in the city,[6] and in 1871 Christ Church in Nazareth was consecrated.[7]

The Anglo-Prussian Union ceased to function in 1881, and no bishop was appointed between 1881 and 1887, and from 1887, the missionary effort continued solely under Anglican auspices.

In 1888 Bp George Blyth established the Jerusalem and the East Mission which was instrumental in raising funds for projects and missions throughout the Middle East. Saint George's Cathedral was built in 1898 in Jerusalem as a central focus for the diocese.

Later history

Although the diocese began as a foreign missionary organisation, it quickly established itself as part of the Palestinian community. In 1905, the Palestine Native Church Council [8] was established to give locals Arabs more say in the running of the church. This led to an increase in the number of Arab clergy serving the diocese.

In 1920, the Diocese of Egypt and the Sudan was formed, separate from the Diocese of Jerusalem, with Llewelyn Gwynne as its first bishop. In the 1920s the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem founded St. George's College as a training seminary for local clergy.

In 1957, the Diocese of Jerusalem was elevated to the rank of an archdiocese (its bishop being an archbishop) under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Jerusalem had metropolitan oversight of the entire area of the current province with the addition of the Sudan (five dioceses in all). In that same year, Najib Cubain was consecrated Bishop of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, the first Arab bishop, assistant to the Archbishop of Jerusalem. During the 1950s, political unrest in Egypt left the diocese in the care of four Egyptian clergy under the oversight of the Archbishop of Jerusalem.

Current position

In 1976, the structure of the Anglican church in the region was overhauled, with the Diocese of Jerusalem becoming an ordinary bishopric, and one of four dioceses forming the Province of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. The Archbishop of Canterbury ceased to have metropolitan authority over the diocese, which came to be held by a rotating Presiding Bishop of the Province and the Central Synod, comprising the four dioceses. When a bishop reaches the age of 68, a coadjutor bishop is required to be elected to work alongside the bishop for two years, before the bishop's retirement at age 70.[1]

Also in 1976, Faik Haddad became the first Palestinian Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem.

Today, the Anglican church in Jerusalem has around 7,000 members.[1] The current Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem is Suheil Salman Ibrahim Dawani, who was officially installed at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem on 15 April 2007. Since the election of Bishop Dawani, he and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has had to take legal action against his predecessor Bishop Riah over the ownership of the Bishop Riah Educational Campus, a school established by Riah when he was bishop.[9]


According to a 2013 diocesan publication,[10] the following are the churches/congregations of the diocese:

  1. St Paul's, Jerusalem
  2. St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem
  3. Church of the Redeemer, Amman, Jordan
  4. Theodore Schneller Chapel, Amman, Jordan
  5. St Luke's Church, Marka, Jordan
  6. Saviour Church, Zarka, Jordan
  7. The Virgin Mary Episcopal Church, Irbid, Jordan
  8. The Church of the Good Shepherd, Salt, Jordan
  9. St John the Baptist Church, Husn, Jordan
  10. St Peter & St Paul Church, Aqaba, Jordan
  11. St Andrew's Church, Ramallah, Palestine
  12. St Peter's Church, Birzeit, Palestine
  13. Good Shepherd Church, Rafidia, Palestine
  14. St Philip's Church, Nablus, Palestine
  15. St Matthew's Church, Zababdeh, Palestine
  16. St Philip's Chapel, Gaza City, Palestine
  17. St Paul's Church, Shefa-'Amr, Israel
  18. Church of the Holy Family, Reineh, Israel
  19. Emmanuel Church, Ramleh, Israel
  20. St John's & St Luke's Church, Haifa, Israel
  21. Christ Church, Nazareth, Israel
  22. Saviour Church, Kufr Yasif, Israel
  23. All Saints' Episcopal Church, Damascus, Syria
  24. All Saints' Episcopal Church, Beirut, Lebanon

List of Anglican Bishops in Jerusalem

  1. Michael Solomon Alexander - 1841–1845. Under joint auspices of the Anglican Church of England and the united Evangelical Church in Prussia. Christ Church, Jerusalem dedicated in 1849.
  2. Samuel Gobat - 1846–1879. Under joint Anglican and Evangelical auspices. He opened 42 schools and ordained the first two Palestinian priests at Christ Church, Nazareth
  3. Joseph Barclay - 1879–1881. Under joint Anglican and Evangelical auspices.
    Vacant 1881 - 1887
  4. George Francis Popham Blyth - 1887–1914. Under sole Anglican auspices; established the Palestine Native Church Council in 1905[11] and the Jerusalem and the East Mission
  5. Rennie MacInnes - 1914–1931
  6. George Francis Graham Brown - 1932–1942
  7. Weston Henry Stewart - 1943–1957
  8. Angus Campbell MacInnes (Archbishop) - 1957–1969
  9. George Appleton (Archbishop) - 1969–1974
  10. Robert Stopford served as Vicar General - 1974–1976
  11. Faik Ibrahim Haddad - 1976–1984, the first Palestinian Arab Bishop
  12. Samir Hanna Kafity - 1984–1998, the second Palestinian Arab Bishop. He served two five-year terms as the Provincial President-Bishop and Primate.
  13. Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal - 1998–2007
  14. Suheil Salman Ibrahim Dawani - since 2007

See also

Anglicanism portal


Further reading

  • Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 2 (2001). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 90-04-11695-8
  • Hoppe, Leslie J. (1999). A Guide to the Lands of the Bible. Liturgical Press. ISBN 0-8146-5886-5

External links

  • History of the Episcopal/Anglican Church in the Holy Land
  • Official website
  • Documentation on the controversy regarding the establishment of an Anglican bishopric of Jerusalem
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