Middle East Central Synod Inaugurated, Bishops Installed

Episcopal News Service. January 6, 1976 [76002]

The Rev. Samir J. Habiby, Communications Chairman for the Diocese of Los Angeles

EAST JERUSALEM -- In one of the Anglican Communion's most significant dual historic ceremonies held in the Collegiate Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr in (East) Jerusalem, a new autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion came into being and immediately following the service, the first Arab bishop, the 11th in succession to the Episcopal See in Jerusalem, was installed.

At the historic service the new Central Synod of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, replacing the Jerusalem Archbishopric, was inaugurated, and the Rt. Rev. Faik Ibrahim Haddad was officially installed Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

Colorful Ecumenical Setting

The resplendent rites took place in the ecumenical and inter-faith setting of the Holy City on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1976. In the presence of the Anglican bishops, bishops of other communions, clergy and laity from the new province and dele-gations from many parts of the world, along with civic dignitaries who converged upon Jerusalem for the historic drama that unfolded amid the triumphal fanfares of organ and ceremonial trumpets to herald a joyous new era in the life of the Biblical Middle East.

Eastern Orthodox, Armenian, and Western Rite senior bishops, Archimandrites, and their chaplains in glittering copes and miters, with the golden miter-like crowns of the East; clergymen in colorful vestments; visiting dignitaries of the Reformed and Protestant communions; attendants such as vergers, crucifers, marshals and others robed in flowing copes; members of the Jerusalem Consular Corps and others added to the rich traditional stateliness and dignity that Anglicans throughout the world revere and look for in the orderliness of their liturgy.

The Gothic fortress-like stone-built cathedral dating back in its structure to the last part of the 19th century, established outside the Old City Walls to be an Anglican Collegiate Center (during the occupation by the Ottoman Turks) of Palestine seemed to awaken and take on a new life and vigor. The cathedral had witnessed the constantly changing panorama of the Palestinian scene and the changing of hands in the control of the Holy City. The serenity of the King Edward Tower has always been an inspiration to troubled Jerusalem.

Joyous Expression at the Admittance

On this day a joyous expression of the moment seemed to capture the whole area around the cathedral as official cars flying the ecclesiastical flags of the several religious leaders fluttered in the wind. This was indeed a new beginning on this Feast of the Epiphany as the Anglican family manifested to the world its confidence in its sons and daughters in the Middle East by the inauguration of an autonomous Central Synod and the welcoming into the hallowed walls of the Cathedral Church of the former Anglican Archbishopric of a national son of this ancient Holy Land. Knocking at the Cathedral Great Doors, Bishop Haddad asked to be admitted by saying: "I Faik, by Divine Providence elected and appointed Bishop in Jerusalem ask you to admit me to my place as Bishop in this Cathedral Church...."

The Very Rev. Clive Hanford, dean, meeting the bishop as the doors opened responded in Arabic for the cathedral chapter and the seven thousand five hundred communicants of the diocese by saying: "Right Reverend Father in God, we welcome you most gladly in the Name of the Lord...."

The Bishop of Jerusalem accompanied by the dean and cathedral chapter is now escorted up the nave to the crossing to be met by his immediate predecessors in office, 10th Bishop in Jerusalem and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Vicar General in Jerusalem, and the Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. Najib A. Cubain, First Bishop of Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Bishop Cubain retired as Diocesan at this service after 18 years in the episcopate. He was consecrated on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1958 at St. George's to be the bishop of a diocese carved out because of the political realities of the time.

Teamwork among Mideast Bishops

The work and ministry of Bishop Cubain as the first Arab bishop to be consecrated in the Anglican Communion paved the way for the appointment by the Church of England of the Vicar General who came to prepare for the new structure of the reconstituted Diocese of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Central Synod. The teamwork of Bishop Stopford, Bishop Cubain, and Bishop Haddad made the transition a happy and meaningful experience for the Church.

The Induction

Bishop Haddad having taken the oath of office and invested with the pastoral staff of the See of Jerusalem, was then ceremonially escorted to the throne for induction by the dean, who said: "By virtue of this Mandate, I, Clive Hanford, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr do install you Faik into this Dignity and Chair Episcopal of this Cathedral Church and I induct you into the Real, Actual, and Corporal possession of this Bishopric with all of its Rights, Dignities, Privileges and Appurtenances, and do place you in your Episcopal Seat in this Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr...."

The induction signaled a new beginning for the Church in the Holy Land. An indigenous national bishop assumes the awesome responsibility of being the representative of the Anglican Communion in the Holy City. The reality of this action and what it implies was not lost upon the huge overflowing congregation in the cathedral and outside of its walls upon the national governments served by the See of Jerusalem. The prestigious stature of Anglicanism with comprehensive emphasis in theology as well as its mediating influence and close ties among the leaders of the religious communities in Jerusalem and the Holy Land is now entrusted to Bishop Haddad.

The Central Synod and Canterbury's Relinquishment

Immediately preceding the installation, the new Central Synod of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East was launched to chart its life and move with determination in the midst of the turbulent present life style of the Middle East. It is obvious even to the casual observer that the great conflicts in the area have baffled the best of international experts in recent history. The unresolved issues continue to pose a great threat to peace and the presence of a large refugee population, whose rights and needs are largely ignored by the western world, further complicates what is already an exceptionally difficult situation.

Into this arena Faik Ibrahim Haddad, 11th Bishop in Jerusalem, begins his episcopate. He sees his diocese as a reconciling, healing leaven in the Holy Land. Together with his brother bishops of the new Province he is confident that the Church will be able to focus on the several urgent needs, some defying comprehension, yet it is in this that he sees the power of the Holy Spirit being invoked in the inauguration of the Central Synod to give the strengthening insight and power to the Church in the Middle East as it takes the metropolitical reign of its own earthly destiny.

The actual life of the Synod began with the reading of the Mandate and the Document of Relinquishment. In this, the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Church of England relinquished "all metropolitical, spiritual and episcopal jurisdiction" to the Central Synod. This marked the end of Canterbury's direct involvement and jurisdiction in this biblical region of the world. This relationship continues in a new partnership in mission together with the sister provinces of the Anglican Communion. The life of the Church in this area bears the lasting influence of the magnificent British missionaries. They began their work in 1845 under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society of the Church of England.

The Four Dioceses in the Mideast

The Central Synod is composed of four sister dioceses:

The Diocese of Jerusalem spanning four national governments and five countries. In Palestine, the diocese covers the area of Jerusalem itself, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank of the Jordan, as well as Israel. The boundaries also include Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

The Diocese in Egypt includes all of Egypt, North Africa (to the Atlantic) and Ethiopia. The Diocesan is a recently consecrated Egyptian Arab, Bishop Ishaq Massad assisted by the well-known Anglican Muslim scholar, Bishop Kenneth Cragg of England.

The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf includes Cyprus, all of the Arabian Peninsula, the islands and Iraq. Its Diocesan is an Englishman who is Bishop Leonard Ashton.

The Diocese of Iran is the smallest in size and numbers, with an Iranian Diocesan Bishop, Hassan Dehqani Tafti.

American Delegation

The U.S. Episcopal Church delegation was led by the Rt. Rev. Furman Charles Stough, D.D., the Bishop of Alabama and the House of Bishops' chairman of the Overseas Committee, accompanied by the Rev. Samuel Van Culin, the Executive Council's World Secretary in the office of National and World Mission. Two personal friends of the bishop came specially for the occasion along with two tour groups of Episcopal pilgrims, the Rev. Thomas Sumner, rector emeritus of St. John the Divine Parish in Houston, Tex., and the Rev. William Ticknor from the Diocese of Easton in Maryland.

Also present was the Rev. Samir J. Habiby, rector of St. Anselm of Canterbury Parish, Garden Grove, Calif., himself a Palestinian Arab refugee whose parents, Judge and Mrs. Jamil I. Habiby, live in East Jerusalem and are active members of the Church. Judge Habiby serves as the Appelate Judge of the Ecclesiastical Court for Anglican matters and is a former vice chairman of the National Council of the Arab Episcopal Church (Community).

The Anglican Church of Canada's delegation was headed by the Rt. Rev. Douglas Albert Ford, Bishop of the Diocese of Saskatoon and who heads the Canadian Church's overseas concerns and programs.

The Roman Catholic Apostolic Delegate in the Holy City, together with the Rt. Rev. John Howe, General Secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, were the senior ecumenical representatives at the historic rites in Jerusalem

. Bishop Stopford leaves Jerusalem after the meeting of the Synod in Amman to become the Bishop of Bermuda. Bishop Cubain in his retirement will live in Amman, Jordan.

The Bishop of Jerusalem's Jurisdiction

The See over which Bishop Haddad assumed episcopal jurisdiction is the largest in terms of membership and institutions. Twenty-six priests minister to 30 congregations with institutions including 12 schools, three of which are well-known and internationally accredited college preparatory high schools whose origins come from the work of British missionaries; a well established home for the aging; three orphanages; two schools for the deaf and the dumb; two schools and centers for the mentally retarded; a 65-bed general hospital and outpatient clinics; and two full board hostels for pilgrims to the Holy Land. The institutions are open to all members of the communities in which they serve. St. George's Anglican College in the cathedral close serves as a special study center with ecumenical participation. The dean of the school is an American Episcopal priest, the Rev. Edward Todd from the Diocese of Maine.

Bishop Haddad

A third generation Anglican, Bishop Haddad's family have been active in the Church from the inception of Anglican work in the Holy Land, and their affirmation of the Christian faith dates back to the first centuries of Christianity. Born in Tulkarem in the Samaria District on December 28, 1914 to a middle class family, Bishop Haddad was one of six children born to his late father, a goldsmith. His education took him from Tulkarem to the Bishop Gobat School, one of British-mandated Palestine's best schools, located on Mount Sion in Jerusalem. The future bishop excelled in sports, breaking several regional athletic records. His interest in ministering to the youth and in the emphasis on sportsmanship remain a high priority for him.

From Jerusalem he was admitted to the American University in Beirut, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, followed by the awarding of his Theological Diploma at the Near East School of Theology, also in Beirut. In 1961 he came to the United States to spend a year of refresher course studies at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, followed by a seven-months' residency at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury. (St. Augustine's at that time was the Central College of the Anglican Communion.) For his overseas studies he was then graduated with a Master of Arts degree by the American University at Beirut.

The Haddad Family

Faik Haddad was accompanied to the United States and England by his attractive and highly talented wife Sophie. Born in Jerusalem to an Arab Orthodox family, Mrs. Haddad graduated from the Jerusalem Girls College and taught in the public schools until she married in 1954. The Haddads have four children. The eldest, 20 year-old Ibrahim, is a candidate for holy orders and is a third year university student. The other children are girls, Hala 16, Randa 14, and Mary 10. The children have been active participants in Jerusalem's social life since 1965 when their father came to Jerusalem to serve as priest-in-charge of the Arab Episcopal community in Jerusalem. He became a cathedral canon in 1972 and the secretary of the council of the Arab Episcopal community.

The Haddads are well-known throughout the diocese for their tireless hard work among the needy and especially the refugees. While serving as vicar at St. Phillips Church, Nablus, in the Samaria district, Faik was also the chaplain at St. Luke's Hospital, where he helped refurbish the hospital, upgrade its medical and surgical facilities and extend its outpatient clinics.

The 1947 Partition of Palestine found the bishop as the ficar of St. Peter's in Jaffa. He continued to minister in 1948 to remnants of his refugee congregation in Ramallah. From there he was assigned to serve the largely refugee Episcopal community in Amman, where he established a strong parish Church of the Redeemer with a parochial school.

Ordained a deacon in 1939 by the late Bishop Graham Brown at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, he was ordained by the same bishop a priest at St. John's Church, Haifa. He was then assigned to serve at Our Saviour's Church in Acre and Kafer Yasif.

Smooth Transition

Consecrated the Bishop Coadjutor on August 29, 1974, in a dual capacity to both Bishop Cubain and Bishop Stopford, he immediately set to work with the several separate entities in the diocese and therefore assured the smooth transition which took place with his installation. In this he has been helped by the committed lay leadership of both the English-speaking congregations and the Arab Church Council.

Intricate Fabric

A dynamic youngish-looking man at the age of 60, the new bishop's calm manner and personal charm combines a steel-like quality of commitment to the mission of the Church in proclaiming the Lordship of Christ with a comprehensive understanding of his role in reaching out on the one hand to the Christian community in the intricate fabric of ecumenical dialogue and on the other in the interfaith conversations with those of Muslim and Jewish faiths who all have a legitimate claim to Jerusalem as their spiritual center.

Synod to Meet at Amman

From Jerusalem, the Anglican bishops and delegates to the Central Synod traveled to Amman, making the difficult crossing that separates the West and East Banks of the Jordan, to meet in a constitutional and legislative session on January 8. This was followed by four days of consultations in the Partners in Mission dialogue in which representatives from the United States, Canadian, English, Australian and African provinces sat with the new Synod in planning the future.

Political Realities

Bishop Haddad in speaking of the new province, and in particular of his diocese, looks at the Church's role with great enthusiasm and hope. He recognizes the stark realities that exist and he has no ready answer as to how to resolve conflicting positions and ideologies. In looking at the five countries covered by his diocese (five in the sense that in the four existing countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel, there are also the Palestinians who live in all four states), he recognizes that these countries are among "the most troubled parts of the world full of political, economic, and social problems." He expresses an optimism which is most heartening in that the Church has a unique opportunity not only to witness to people of other faiths but be the reconciling and healing power in an area of "different cultures and races, where hatred, enmity and conflict reign, where basic issues and serious problems have not been resolved, where well equipped troops stand ready to go to war," he then sums it up by saying, "No wonder people get bewildered."

A Deep Spirituality

In his vision of a Church that reconciles and mediates, his deep spirituality comes to the surface as he states, "To all those people who have lost hope in life, there comes the voice of the Lord, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'" He sees the Church as a lighthouse that beckons in the turbulence of the ocean of life with all of its pervasive fogginess, as lighting the way for a tired humanity.

His warm personality and winning smile is contagious. In leaving his presence, one looks at the greyness of life and does in fact see a clear sky out of the fog and calmness out of turbulence. He points to the many sons and daughters that the Church has produced in the countries it serves as evidence of the significant contributions made in the socio-economic-political fields.

High Priorities

One of the bishop's highest priorities is to help the sister churches of the Anglican Communion recognize the urgent needs in the Holy Land, and with its worldwide implications, he realizes that urgent needs exist in other parts of the world, and in that he is committed to being a full partner in endeavors to resolve such needs as hunger, refugees, social dislocation and armed conflict. He looks to the sister churches in the Anglican family for "support and strengthening love and concern."

With the large refugee population, the bishop states, "We really do need your prayers and support to be strengthened to witness to our Lord and Saviour in these lands where he once lived and walked." The dominical commission remains the same, "beginning in Jerusalem, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."

At Evensong at St. George's Cathedral on January 5, the new Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf was formally established with the investiture of the Rt. Rev. Leonard Ashton, formerly an assistant bishop in the Archbishopric of Jerusalem, as the Diocesan. Bishop Stopford, acting on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, presided over the ceremony. At a service of Evensong on January 6 at St. George's Cathedral, Dean Hanford inducted Bishop Ashton, Bishop Hassan Dehqani Tafti of Iran, and Bishop John Howe, General Secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, as cathedral canons and installed them in their canonaries. The Rt. Rev. John Maury Allin, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. will also be inducted and installed as a canon at a later date.