Joint service with the Armenian Church

On Saturday 24 April, Coventry Cathedral will welcome HG Bishop Hovakim Manukyan and representatives of the Armenian Church, for a Joint Service of Evening Prayer on the day that Armenians throughout the world remember the Genocide of 1915.

HG Bishop Hovakim Manukyan is the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland.

To watch the service

The service will be live-streamed on the Coventry Cathedral Facebook page at 4 pm.

Pastoral introduction from Bishop Christopher

Here in the City of Coventry, and especially in the Cathedral, we know the importance of remembrance and the part it plays both in ensuring that history’s darkest days are remembered well and, that in so doing, a new future of hope, peace and reconciliation can be built together.

We are honoured, therefore, to join our Armenian brothers and sisters as they bring their sufferings before God to seek God’s healing of the wounds of history and to pray for a just and peaceful future for all peoples. We are glad to follow in the tradition of Anglican hospitality to Armenians that was evident in the aftermath of the tragic events of 1915, and was symbolised poignantly in an Ecumenical Service in Westminster Abbey in 2015 to celebrate the canonisation of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, a service that took place in the presence of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.

We are mindful also this day that Armenia lives under the dark cloud of the 2020 war in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), a brutal conflict that even in its aftermath shows signs of the ethnic and cultural cleansing that the Armenian people suffered in 1915. It was with a deep sense of solidarity that our hearts here in Coventry Cathedral went out to the Christians of Artsakh at the sight of their own beloved Cathedral in Shushi bombed during the conflict, and we pray for the protection of people and places.

HE Archbishop Angaelos of London, of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and Papal Legate to the UK, was also present at the historic service in Westminster Abbey and it is an additional joy for me that Archbishop Angaelos will be with us on Saturday. His Eminence is always among the first to speak words of peace into situations of violence, even – perhaps especially – when endured by the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt.

The Dean of Coventry presented Archbishop Angaelos with the Cross of Nails here in the Cathedral on Easter Day in 2016 in recognition of his work for peace and reconciliation in the world, and I know that he wears that cross close to his heart.

In his great passage on the message and ministry of reconciliation in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul writes of us ‘working together’ for God’s way in the world. Today’s service is an opportunity for Christians from different Churches and traditions – Armenian, Coptic and Anglican – to work together for the coming of God’s righteous kingdom of peace, and to pray:

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth
Bishop of Coventry

First published on: 22nd April 2021