Diocese of Jerusalem
|Ecclesiastical province||Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and The Middle East|
|Cathedral||St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem|
The Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem (Arabic: ) is the Anglican presence in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon; it is a part of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, and based at St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem. The diocese covers 7,000 Anglicans, with 35 service institutions, 29 parishes, 1500 employees, 200 hospital beds and 6,000 students. From 1957 to 1976 the ordinary held the rank and title of Archbishop of Jerusalem; the ordinary is now the Bishop in Jerusalem. Today, Anglicans constitute a large portion of Jerusalem's Christians.
The current, fourteenth Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem is Suheil Dawani, who was elected Coadjutor Bishop on June 15, 2005 and was officially installed as Bishop on April 15, 2007. He succeeded Riah Abu El-Assal, who retired on March 31, 2007 at the prescribed retirement age of 70 years.
In August 2010, Israel declined to renew the residency permits for Dawani and his family, claiming the bishop had been engaged in fraudulent land deals on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. After legal proceedings were commenced and following political pressure from a number of Christian churches and leaders, the permits were renewed on 26 September 2011.
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.
On 5 October 1841, the Jerusalem Bishopric Act was passed, and on 7 November, Michael Alexander, a converted rabbi, was consecrated a bishop, to serve as the first "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.
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, 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.
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 was established to give local 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 Bishop in Jerusalem was elevated to the rank of an archbishop, albeit 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.
In July 1957, the Diocese of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria was carved out of the existing Diocese of Jerusalem. Its only bishop (the area's first Arab bishop) was Najib Cubain; the diocese was reabsorbed upon the provincial reorganisation of 1976.
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.
Also in 1976, Faik Haddad became the first Palestinian Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem.
Today, the Anglican church in Jerusalem has around 7,000 members. The current Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem is Suheil Dawani, who was officially installed at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem on 15 April 2007. Since the election of Dawani, he and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has had to take legal action against his predecessor Riah over the ownership of the Bishop Riah Educational Campus, a school established by Riah when he was bishop.
According to a 2012 diocesan publication, the following are the churches/congregations of the diocese:
Under sole Anglican auspices:
Episcopal (Anglican) bishops: