British parliamentarians must “change the narrative” of the Middle East from futility to hope, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said today.
“As religious and civic leaders, we have an opportunity and responsibility to change the narrative and expectation of the Middle East from one of hopelessness and conflict to one of hope and promise,” said Bishop Angaelos at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast this morning.
Speaking on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Angaelos told the 700 parliamentarians gathered that “we need to address the reality of this situation, that there has been a systematic, yet gradual prejudice, marginalisation and alienation of Christians and minorities allowed to continue over decades. This does not have to continue on our watch.”
Angaelos called for Christians leading within the church and outside it to work together to overcome the current situation, which he described as “greater than us all”.
“It needs us all to work together… There can no longer be a concept of ‘over there’ because families of those affected in the Middle East are members of your constituencies, our Churches, and our society as a whole. We are one very large community… our paths cross, our experience is one and our journey is one that we must share,” he said.
“Regardless of which House one sits in, which Church one worships in, or indeed which faith one does or does not have, we must work together for the freedom and dignity of human life and speak with a collaborative voice.”
Despite the persecution suffered, Bishop Angaelos painted a positive picture of the Church in the Middle East. “The Church is defiant, the Church is resilient, the Church is alive,” he said.