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A Brief History of the Diocese of Cyprus & the Gulf

A Brief History of the Diocese


1878 The British first arrived in Cyprus - the Anglican church was overseen by the Bishop of Gibraltar, the Right Reverend Charles Sandford 

1906 The small Byzantine-style church of St Helena was built in Larnaca by the Greenwood family

1912 A site in Limassol was purchased by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts on which St Barnabas was built and much extended over the years.

1913 St Andrew’s was built in Kyrenia on land donated by Scottish mine-owner George Houston. It began as a two-room church

1928 St George-in-the-Forest at Troodos was started and built over three summers

1945 The St Andrew's Hermitage parsonage was built by Father Ambrose Williams

1949 funds for an extension to St Andrew's Church were provided by Mr and Mrs B C Petrides 

1970s St Antony's in Paphos, a beautiful Orthodox church with seating for just 25 was made available for Anglican worship by Bishop Chrysostomos. It was subsequently outgrown and Anglicans joined Roman Catholic worshippers in the Orthodox church of Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa. Two further congregations have been established in Paphos District: St Stephen Tala and St Luke Prodromi near Polis.

1978 St Helena's church was demolished and replaced by a block of flats with a space for worship containing part of the altar and a window depicting St Helena from the original church

2004 Retreats Ministry established in Cyprus. Katafiyio, the Diocesan retreats house in the village of Kapedes in Nicosia District, seeks to provide spiritual refreshment to people across the diocese and wider province.

...and the Gulf

1864 Christ Church near Steamer Point, Yemen built with Queen Victoria as a benefactor

1920 Anglican worship in Baghdad, Iraq in what had been an Ottoman guardhouse. It was demolished in the 1930s to make way for a bridge over the Tigris

1926 St Martin Sharjah, the local place of Anglican worship before the construction of Holy Trinity, was originally established as the British Garrison Church

1936 The Mesopotamian Memorial Church of St George was completed in Baghdad. It was built in memory of the 41,115 British soldiers who died in the region during the First World War

1956 The Kuwait Oil Company built a church in Ahmadi named St Paul’s, prior to which Christian worship took place in a Nissen hut 

1962 13th May, the Archdeacon of Eastern Arabia and the Gulf, the Venerable Alun Morris, was granted an audience with His Highness Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi

After a pleasant interview with the Sheikh in his desert fortress, he offered to us a plot of 40,000 square feet and left us free to choose the site. In the afternoon we selected a central position on the sea front…”

(Quoted in E. Henderson, A History of St Andrew’s Church)

1966 Stained-glass windows from the Church of St Peter Chesil in Winchester, England were added to St Paul's, Kuwait

Since the 1960s, St Christopher’s Cathedral in Bahrain hosted guest fellowships 

1968 formal dedication of St Andrew’s Church, Abu Dhabi attended by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who stood beside Archbishop Campbell McInnes as he knocked on the door of the church

1969 Holy Trinity in Dubai was built by volunteers in 1969 on land gifted by His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum, and expanded in the next three decades, now hosting around 16,000 worshippers from 120 denominations and fellowships. Dubai is also home base for Mission to Seafarers (MtS) in the Gulf and South Asia. With 17 ports in the UAE alone, MtS offers practical, emotional and spiritual help to thousands of seafarers. MtS also operates in Cypriot ports such as Limassol and in the port in Bahrain.

1975 His Highness Sultan Qaboos allocated land to the joint enterprise between the RCA and the Anglican Church known as "the Protestant Church in Oman" in the vicinity of Muscat at Ruwi and subsequently Ghala, as well as Salalah and Sohar in a more distant part of the country

1979 The first Diocesan ordination was held at Ahmadi at which the Reverend Clive Windebank was priested

1982 following a request to free up the land for government development and the need to expand the church, St Andrew's Abu Dhabi closed and the foundation stone for St Andrew’s Centre was laid by the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stuart Blanch 

1984 The St Andrew’s Centre, Abu Dhabi was formally dedicated by the Right Reverend Harry Moore, Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf

1990 During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, several members of St Paul’s congregation were held hostage, including the Reverend Michael Jones and his wife, Jean. Whilst in Baghdad, an Iraqi Christian looked after St George's Church and its compound

1996 Christ Church, Aden, Yemen reopened after restoration, along with the medical facilities which became the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic, and dedicated by Bishop Clive Handford

1997 St Martin Sharjah was rebuilt (after being demolisted in the 1980s) on land generously provided to the Christian community by His Highness Sultan bin Mohammad al Qasimi

2002 Christ Church Jebel Ali was consecrated to serve Christians living in the southern areas of the Emirate of Dubai

2003 The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, (these days known as Mosaic Middle East), began to use St George’s as a centre for food distribution and other relief work, and in due course established a medical clinic. Latterly a professional kindergarten was organised by the parish priest, and an extensive three-storey diocesan primary school has now been built.

2007 The first Mandarin-language services were held in St Paul's, Kuwait. 

2009 A Muslim-Christian council was established in the State of Kuwait

2009 The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Michael Lewis for St Luke Ras al Khaimah which was constructed on land kindly donated by the then Crown Prince of Ras al Khaimah, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi

2013 The Anglican Centre in Qatar opened and became home to the Anglican Church of the Epiphany which holds Anglican services in Tamil, Marathi and Igbo as well as English. The Centre holds services on a Friday, the principal day of worship, serving around 85 different Christian groups, totalling some 14,000 worshippers


A more detailed history is available on the diocesan website