The Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism was conferred upon His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, on 31 March 2016 at Lambeth Palace. The Lambeth Cross has been the highest honour bestowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1939 and is conferred to distinguished hierarchs who have rendered exceptional services to the cause of Christian unity.
Speaking directly to Bishop Angaelos after the ceremony, the Archbishop said: “My encounter with Orthodoxy through you has been a really profound experience in my life. It has changed much of my understanding of what the Church is universally. I have never had that much engagement with Orthodoxy, and certainly not with Coptic Orthodoxy. I found a completely different understanding, a much deeper sense of being drawn into the Body of Christ, and this is a recognition of the importance of your role in presenting to the United Kingdom and to the Church that we belong to one another in Christ.”
Archbishop Justin went on to say: “This has been a major step forward in my own spiritual journey, and His Grace has been a major feature in that; and it is part of what he has done in England across many communities, including of course with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.”
Bishop Angaelos replied: “This has been a wonderful time for a great partnership. The fact that there is an opportunity to work with Your Grace, with the Church of England, and with the Anglican Communion worldwide to advocate for others is wonderful because it comes at a time at which we must stand together. Your Grace and the Church of England have been very vocal on these issues, along with, as you mentioned, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It is time for us to speak collaboratively and powerfully. It is only by the world seeing us standing together and witnessing that what we have in common is more than what separates us, that it realises that we have common ground, especially for those who are not so privileged as we are to speak.”