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Secretary General attends the first consecration of an Anglican bishop in Bahrain

Posted on: May 23, 2024 5:13 PM
Left to right: Dr Richard Fermer (Dean of St Christopher's Cathedral), Bishop Anthony Poggo (Secretary General of the Anglican Communion), Bishop Sean Semple (bishop-elect for the Dioceses of Cyprus and the Gulf), Archbishop Hosam Naoum (Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East) and Revd Canon Donald Binder, Chaplain to the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem gather ahead of the consecration

Bishop Anthony Poggo has attended the consecration of the Right Revd Sean Semple, who will become the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf.

The consecration service was held at St Christopher’s Cathedral in Manama on May 24 and it was the first consecration of an Anglican bishop to take place in Bahrain. 

Bishop-elect Sean has served in the Anglican Communion in various parts of the world as a deacon and priest, but was consecrated in Bahrain in order to exercise the particular ministry of a bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. 

Due to the unique geography and history of the diocese, there are two Cathedrals - one in Cyprus and one in Bahrain. It was bishop Sean's decision that the consecration service take place at the Cathedral of St Christopher in recognition of the importance of the Gulf nations in the life of the Diocese and to celebrate the Kingdom of Bahrain's vision of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. 

Established in 1976, the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf is one of the three dioceses that make up the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, whose Archbishop is currently the Most Rev’d Dr Hosam Naoum.

Speaking about the Consecration in advance, Bishop Sean Semple said: “I have chosen to be consecrated and begin my ministry at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Manama, knowing of the respect for faith and the desire for peaceful coexistence that is enshrined in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I come with great awe at the weighty responsibility that will be bestowed upon me, but know that the gentleness and warmth of the Bahraini people will strengthen me and remind me of God’s grace without which I can do nothing.”

Bishop Anthony Poggo said: “It was a joy to join with Anglican brothers and sisters for the Consecration of Bishop Sean Semple.  We pray for him as he prepares for this ministry and give thanks for the important work that the Anglican Church is doing in this region.”

The Consecration service was presided over by The Most Rev’d Dr Hosam Naoum, the Archbishop and Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, of which the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf is a part.

The two principal co-consecrating bishops were The Right Rev’d Dr Robert Innes, Bishop in Europe and Bishop Richard Jackson, the Bishop of Hereford in the Church of England, where the Rev’d Sean Semple is currently a parish priest.

Bishop Sean Semple said: “The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf has been deeply honoured and encouraged by the bishops’ participation in the service,” said Bishop Sean. “Their presence indicates something of the significance in which our Diocese held in the wider Anglican Communion, and further enhances these relationships.” He was also particularly grateful for the family and friends who came to support him.

Fr Richard Fermer, Dean of St Christopher’s said: “We are very excited, because it is the first time that someone will be consecrated an Anglican bishop in Bahrain.”

Following the consecration, the new bishop was welcomed by the Dean and Bahraini dignitaries, and led to the ‘cathedra’, which is Greek for throne, to be installed or enthroned bishop of the diocese.

A local news outlet described the event as “…one more milestone in Bahrain’s renowned achievements as a celebrated global centre of religious tolerance, friendship and diversity.”