The Prince of Wales attended the consecration of the new St Thomas Cathedral Syriac Orthodox Church in London today.
St. Thomas' Cathedral was formerly known as St. Saviour's and was purchased by the Syriac Orthodox community from the Royal Association for Deaf People in 2014. It has undergone extensive renovation over the past two years in preparation for its new life as a Syriac Orthodox place of worship.
His Royal Highness was welcomed to the church by 600 members of the congregation. The service was hosted by the Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the UK, His Eminence Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod Dakkama. The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, had travelled from Syria for the occasion.
During the service, the congregation thanked The Prince for his courage and steadfastness in speaking out for Christians who are being persecuted in the Middle East.
Other guests included The Bishop of London, the Mayor of Ealing and clergy from all over the UK.
This visit follows on from two previous visits that His Royal Highness has made to the Syriac Orthodox Church at Acton (in December 2013 and December 2014) to meet Christians from Iraq and Syria who had suffered persecution in the Middle East.
During a speech, The Prince said: “It gives me great happiness to be present at the consecration of the Cathedral of St Thomas.
“It is surely deeply encouraging, at a time when the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church in their homelands of Syria and Iraq are undergoing such desperate trials and such appalling suffering, that in Britain the Syriac Church is able to expand and gain in strength. In this way the consecration of your Cathedral is indeed a notable sign of hope for the future.”