Christian Persecution

Queen's Birthday Honours: Bishop Anba Angaelos honoured for services to religious freedom


Congratulations to His Grace Bishop Anba Angaelos on being appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015. As General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, he has been at the forefront of efforts to tell the persecuted church that “they are not forgotten; that they are in our hearts and in our prayers; that we are not just praying for them from the comfort of being in Britain, but that we are willing to go and stand side by side with them and pray with them, seeing where they live, listening to their experiences, and pledging to do the best we possibly can to help them”.

When his Coptic brothers were summarily slaughtered on a Libyan beach by the brutal Saudi Salafists of the Islamic State (or ‘Daesh’), he spoke of his “deep feelings of sorrow and pain”, knowing that their families back home would be deprived not only of fathers, sons and brothers, but of their breadwinners, for Coptic life in Egypt is a daily struggle for survival. Yet in the midst of suffering, he forgave:

While it may seem illogical or incomprehensible, we also pray for those who have carried out these horrific crimes, that the value of God’s creation and human life may become more evident to them, and in this realisation, that the wider effects of pain brought by this and other acts of brutality may be realised and avoided. We pray for an end to the dehumanisation of captives who become mere commodities to be bartered, traded and negotiated with.

..In the midst of this sorrow however, we must continue to dig deeper for the joy that comes from an understanding that this life is but a “vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14), and that true glory and joy are found in an eternal life prepared for all those who live in and for love and peace.

It is only through this understanding that we can continue to live according to the words of 1 Peter 3:15 as demonstrated in the life and witness of the Coptic Church and her children over centuries, “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”

Bishop Anba Angaelos is honoured for services to international religious freedom – the undoubted torment of the age – and it is heartening that the Prime Minister has recommended the Bishop for his efforts against jihad.

However, the words ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ appear 19 times in the Queen’s Birthday Honours citations; ‘religious freedom’ only once. Is it too much to ask that honour may be given where it is due? Canon Andrew White? Ann Widdecombe? Charles Moore? Too white? Too Christianly orthodox? Seriously, why has Ms Caroline Criado-Perez (for whom Winston Churchill is just “another white man”) been appointed OBE “For services to Equality and Diversity, particularly in the Media” (she campaigned to get the image of Jane Austen on the new £10 note) when the Rt Hon Ann Widdecome hasn’t even got a lowly BEM to her name after a lifetime of commitment to public service and tireless work for a number of charities? Too critical of the Prime Minister?

  • Athanasius

    The bishop gets an OBE, Lenny Henry gets a knighthood. Is it just me, or is something wrong there?

    • The Explorer

      By the values of the culture, absolutely right.

      Religion has its place, but entertainment has a much more important place. One rewards accordingly.

      Of course, if the values of the culture are up the spout…

      • Dominic Stockford

        Given the way some ‘ministers of the gospel’ behave and speak in the pulpit, it seems many think their job is to entertain, rather than to challenge with the Gospel of Salvation or perdition.

    • DanJ0

      Perhaps he had a Premier shoo Inn for the award?

      • sarky

        Very poor 🙂

  • The Explorer


    • Politically__Incorrect

      A very cryptic comment there, Explorer

      • The Explorer

        Nothing to be said. How else does one represent that?

      • DanJ0

        It’s a microdot. There’s a whole essay written on there. Probably.

  • Holy Things

    Congratulations to Bishop Angaelos and thanks to your Grace for highlighting his person, work and recognition. In regard to your Grace’s last paragraph, it may be that Ann and others like her, HAVE been approached to be offered recognition, but have decided on principle to turn them down (AND not gone on to tell the world how principled they are). The Bishop notwithstanding, given the generally disappointing characters and achievements that have been rewarded in recent times, I probably would decline any such award as well.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I’m glad that the Bishop is on the list. i would have liked to have seen Canon Andrew White there too. Not that they are seeking honours, but it would draw attention to the horrors of the Middle East. and those brave souls trying maintain some sense of sanity amongst the chaos.

    We should not hold the Queen responsible for some of the motley crew on the list because she has no say in who gets an honour. She just approves the nominations made by government ministers. Neither would I take the list too seriously. I had a female boss who got an MBE for services to education. This was just after she had fleeced the EU out of £1.5 million which “disappeared” completely. She covered her tracks by, amongst other things, getting staff to complete false tiimesheets for the project.

    It’s really just a pat-on-the-back system for the old boy’s (and old girl’s) network

  • Inspector General

    For being black, making people laugh, and staying out of prison, Sir Lenny…

    • sarky

      For being black and fighting this sort of pathetic racism, Duwayne Brooks OBE (was with Stephen Lawrence when he was murdered by racist morons)

      • Inspector General

        Something wrong sarky?

      • Anton

        Why do you think Barack Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize within months of becoming US President?

        • sarky

          What are you trying to say? That he got it for his colour? Or on merit?

          • CliveM

            Well it would be hard to argue he got it for merit.

            He got it for not being George Bush and for being very liberal.

          • Inspector General

            In a few decades and thereafter, students of this period are going to do a double take when they read about Obama and his dubious awarding of the peace prize. Surely that should read a few months AFTER leaving the office, they’ll think.

            So, the important thing is what the future revisionists will make of it, not us, and the smart money is on him getting it for being black and the US President at the same time. Unique to date.

          • Anton

            I’ll answer that with another question. Had a white president campaigned on the same things Obama did and done the same things in his first nine months, do you think he’d have won the Nobel Peace Prize?

            For the avoidance of misunderstanding, I welcome a black President of the USA. Just not this one, because of what he says and does.

          • Inspector General

            One suggests Obama was given the peace prize for no other reason than because ‘it was the right thing to do’. A rather convenient phrase to fall back on when you haven’t thought out the full implications of what you are doing.

          • Anton

            Yes, it is the Nobel committee which I am having a go at.

          • magnolia

            Let’s say it as it is, he is no more black than white. He is, in fact, both equally, unless one is to assume that men give more than half their DNA to a child, which would, or should, get you in equal trouble with the equalities people!

            I don’t care at all what colour or shade of skin the POTUS has. I just long for one with commonsense who is no-one’s puppet, loves liberty, dislikes war, will not meddle with debasing the currency, and is a genuine committed Christian.

            The chance is there, but is slim.

        • magnolia

          Isn’t it usually given to those who have fought at least one war of pre-emptive aggression, and lobbed the rule book about the Geneva convention and Just War Theory out of the window, with gusto, with very few honourable exceptions?

          • Anton

            Agreed – another reason for the awarding committee to hang their heads in shame.

  • Malcolm Smith

    When you hear about decorations “for services to Equality and Diversity”, you know the honours system is out the spout.

    • Inspector General

      It could be worse. For Services to family breakdown, self enrichment, buggery, child abuse, malevolency, obesity, tattooing…

      • The Explorer

        Sounds like much the same sort of thing.

  • The Explorer

    Interesting to speculate how far a British Honours List would tally with an Honours List in Heaven.

    • Malcolm Smith

      I suspect a lot of those who were first will be last, and the last first.

  • Philip___

    Indeed, how about Canon Andrew White? Ann Widdecombe? Charles Moore?

    And as this is about a gong for services to religious freedom, how about Colin Hart and Andrea Williams? Of course not. They would not only be be far too “Christianly orthodox” for Mr Cameron, they are working to preserve (and restore?) the type of religious freedom that Mr Cameron and the rest of the metroplitan lib-left establishment is content to erode, and giving them an honour certainly wouldn’t gain the approval of the likes of Stonewall.

  • Dreadnaught

    When the Establishment finds the guts to admit that there is a religious war being waged all around the world, awards of this nature may actually mean something.

  • CliveM

    What is it about Ann Widicombe that David Cameron dislikes so much? He does seem to have an ungenerous, petty streak in him.

    I think they should create a new honour for diversity: the WBA or Worth, Bugger, All.

    • sarky

      Did you not watch strictly???

  • Stera

    Why is Bishop Angelos taking part in “Palestine Unlocked” in Oxford?
    Other participants include Mads Gilbert, Sarah Irving, Neturei Karta, Avi Shlaim and especially the Friends of Sabeel. Are these really the kind of people he wants to be associated with?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Valuable question. Poor choice on his part, to try to be charitable to him.

  • len

    It seems somewhat ironic that Bishop Anba Angaelosis is honoured for upholding the persecuted Church by those who are undermining the Judeo/Christian Culture in the UK….One of the areas of severest persecutions of Christians is in Countries ‘liberated ‘by the West and since overrun by the Islamic death cult IS .

  • Mark

    “Religious freedom” is a bit dodgy at the moment. Freedom to wear veils in court, giving evidence? Freedom to wear it when all other head coverings are banned by an educational/medical/security policy? Freedom to have sharia? Too many demands for special privileges coming from that direction at the moment.
    Criado-Perez has done nothing of any real note. She reminds me of the type of feminist who is like an animal-rights activist who hates humans and unequivocally, above all else, loves animals.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I think many Christians would be happy to simply have freedoms that have been taken away from them returned to them The freedom to decline a request a bake a cake bearing a slogan that we disagree with and not get taken to court; the freedom to wear a crucifix at work; the freedom to hold a view on gender or sexuality and no get fired for it. It’s more about restoring the status quo than getting something new. Sharia is a legal system rooted in a religious belief. It is incompatible with our current legal system, so unless the judiciary decides to go scghizophrenic there is no justification for having it.

      • DanJ0

        Christians are typically able to do those things anyway. What you don’t have is rights to protect them. Some Muslim women want the freedom to wear full-face veils in a court of law, and they want that freedom protected by a right. Some Muslims want the freedom to refuse to pass bottles of alcohol over a barcode scanner at a supermarket till, and they want that freedom protected by a right. Some Christians want to be able to refuse a B&B room to a same-sex couple in a civil partnership, and they want that freedom protected by a right. And so on.

        • Malcolm Smith

          It is not clear what your point is. There never was a right to wear full-face veils in court. However, until recently, there always was a right to refuse a B&B room to anybody for any reason or, indeed, to refuse to do business with anyone you didn’t want to. How about giving us back that right!

          • sarky

            ” no blacks, no dogs, no irish”

            I for one am glad we have moved on.

          • Phil R

            Now we have no children no DHSS

            Yes Haven’t we moved on

          • DanJ0

            Or declining to employ competent people simply because they’re black skinned.

          • Phil R

            Different issue as I am sure you realise

      • John Thomas

        Surely EU/European law is incompatible with English law, but we have to put up with it …

        • Politically__Incorrect

          You are right about EU law, but we only put up with it because we ar compelled to.. In the case of sharia law, it hasn’t been forved on us yet, and hopefully it will stay that way

    • saintmark

      Criado-Perez has done nothing of any real note.

      A pun surely?

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,

    I have long since lost interest confidence in the honours system.
    There has for many years seemed absolutely no logic in the system and it’s choices.

    I am not sure why some commentators think there should be more Christians, they are honours for worldly and humanistic ats as seen by the Government.

    Perhaps there could be a petition run by CitizenGO or someone to take the honours system out of the hands of the PM and the Civil Service and return it to HM the Queen and her Equerries.

    • From Queeries to Equerries? Besides, don’t they look after horses?

      • Shadrach Fire

        Historically but now;
        ‘an officer of the British royal household in personal attendance on the sovereign or a member of the royal family’

        • Goodness … it’s a bit rude as it implies the Royal Household are horses.

          • sarky

            I remember someone once asking princess Anne “why the long face”?

      • The Explorer

        Caligula had it right. Let’s involve horses in the decisions of government. They couldn’t have made a bigger mess of things than humans have done.

        And if there’s a lot of horse shit in the House of Commons, well, what’s new?

  • Van the Man made it.

  • len

    Religious freedom is a great thing but it seems only granted if everyone is terrified enough of your religion to give it to you?.

    Christians are seen as a’ soft target ‘as witnessed by the abuse they are suffering worldwide persecuted by ‘political correctness’ in the West and dying in the Middle East for the ‘crime’ of following the teachings of Jesus Christ( which pose no physical threat to anyone only to those who are afraid the Light of the Gospel will penetrate the darkness that has enveloped them)

    • sarky

      Afraid of the light of the gospel. Really???

  • IanCad

    I have to believe that Cameron gave his imprimatur to HM’s speech. He is, at least, consistent in his affinity with the religion of equality. I seem to remember another speech given by him several years ago where the buzzword was used a dozen times.
    Now he is pairing it with the equally moronic “diversity” to create a mantra beloved by all statists.

  • Rebels Ruck

    Just so you know, “Anba” is the form of address given to a bishop in the Coptic Orthodox church – e.g. the Bishop of the UK, Anba Angaelos. A bit like Archdeacon of Cambridge, Venerable John Smith.

    • Just so you know.. the citation from Her Majesty’s Government read:
      “His Grace Bishop Anba ANGAELOS
      General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK.
      For services to International Religious Freedom.”
      Please take the matter up with them.

  • eyesopenwider


    I’ve only recently come across this blog…I rather like it…

    My first post shall be completely off topic (at least I’m honest 😉 ) …

    During the Queens coronation ceremony in 1953 these words were spoken:

    “The hymn being ended, the Archbishop shall say:


    O Lord and heavenly Father,
    the exalter of the humble and the strength of thy chosen,
    who by anointing with Oil didst of old
    make and consecrate kings, priests, and prophets,
    to teach and govern thy people Israel:
    Bless and sanctify thy chosen servant ELIZABETH,
    who by our office and ministry
    is now to be anointed with this Oil,…”

    The part that catches my eye is ‘thy people Israel’ …