Anglicans and Copts unite in prayer for Egypt, Syria and the Middle East

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An Egyptian army tank is seen behind barbed wire securing the perimeter of the presidential palace while protesters on the other side chant anti President Mohammed Morsi slogans, in Cairo

People caught up in conflict and unrest in Egypt, Syria and the wider Middle East are being remembered in prayer today by Anglicans and Copts.

A special service is taking place in Guildford on Saturday night as part of the Anglican-Oriental International Commission that has been meeting since Thursday.

The Commission is meeting over four days to discuss matters of Christology and the Holy Spirit, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, due to join talks on Sunday.

Prayers will be said for Egypt, Syria and the Middle East during tonight's Orthodox Vespers service.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, is serving as Co-Secretary of the commission this year.

He said: "It is reassuring to see this consultation reconvene only months after the visit of His Grace Archbishop Justin to His Holiness Pope Tawadros in Egypt in June of this year.

"With the aim to continue our good relations and establish greater unity between our Churches while still tackling difficult and challenging issues, this is an opportunity to re-establish a valuable platform for common understanding, leading to a greater witness of solidarity, not only for members of our own Churches but for the wider Christian Church and the whole world.

"Above all, we also come together to pray for so many in the Middle East who are in need of that prayerful solidarity at this painful time."

Senior Commission member, Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Reverend Michael Jackson said: "The opportunity graciously offered for us to pray together in this act of worship enables us to express our common desire to stand in solidarity under God with those whose witness inspires and humbles us in our own contexts. This prayer and this love will continue as part of the shared life of our families of churches."

Archbishop Welby said: "I am delighted that Anglican and Orthodox Christians will worship together and remember in prayer the very difficult, indeed life-threatening circumstances in which some of the Churches are living."

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