The beheading of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by Islamic State in 2015 brought worldwide attention to a Church that has endured persecution throughout its 2,000- year history. The first Coptic (the word means ‘Egyptian’) Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos, said he forgave the killers, and in the same year was awarded an OBE for his work as an advocate for religious freedom. Today, he continues that work, as well as overseeing the 35 Coptic Orthodox parishes in the UK. Abi Thomas met Archbishop Angaelos at the Cathedral of St George, part of the Coptic Orthodox Centre in Hertfordshire. The building, which was completed in 2006, contrasts many modern elements (including the large sports hall under the same roof) with an abundance of traditional Coptic icons dedicated to past saints. The pair spoke about a range of issues including Thy Kingdom Come, a prayer initiative begun by the Church of England but now supported by a range of denominations, including the Orthodox Church.
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