Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East was officially inaugurated in 1976. It succeeded the old Jerusalem archbishopric and was established in accordance with principles set by the Anglican Consultative Council. Metropolitan authority has been delegated by the archbishop of Canterbury to the central synod of the church. The primate is elected by the synod from among the diocesan bishops. St George's Church in Jerusalem is the centre of Anglican presence in the Middle East. Though in no way detracting from the acknowledgment of the position of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem as the successor to St James as Bishop of Jerusalem, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the Cathedral of Jerusalem, St George's has the status of a cathedral church. It serves not only the diocese, but also in a unique way the whole Anglican communion, with which it is linked by the episcopal canons who have a share in the government of the cathedral. The dean of St George's is appointed by a special electoral college on which the episcopal canons are represented. The cathedral ministers to both local and expatriate congregations and to pilgrims, and works with the bishop in fostering good relations with the other churches represented in the parent city of the Christian faith. While acknowledging the unique place of Jerusalem in the Christian world, the Anglican Consultative Council decided that the general principle by which the Anglican Church in any place is represented by its diocesan bishop should also obtain in Jerusalem and the Middle East, and that the bishop in Jerusalem should therefore, apart from fulfilling his primary function as minister and pastor, be its representative in the holy city.
The diocese of Iran is presently in great difficulties. Besides losing its hospital and other church properties, it has no bishop or ordained priest to give pastoral care. The diocese of Egypt, with jurisdiction over North Africa, Ethiopia and Somalia, ministers to small communities of Egyptians mainly in and around Cairo and to expatriate communities in the other countries. The diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf ministers not only to British and American expatriates but also to Pakistanis, Indians, Palestinians and others throughout the area of the Gulf. The diocese of Jerusalem has considerable responsibilities for schools, welfare centres, and work among the aged and the handicapped. It also ministers to many refugees. St George's College continues to perform its particular role in providing facilities for study and research; St George's hostel continues to cater for pilgrims and visitors.
Together with the other churches in Jerusalem, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is actively involved in seeking a just solution of the conflict in the Holy Land and building bridges of reconciliation.