EU Referendum: Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos

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Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, following the results of the EU Referendum

24 June 2016

Over this past week, the United Kingdom has experienced a series of significant, challenging and sometimes painful milestones. With the long-awaited results of the EU referendum, and the tragic death of Jo Cox MP in the lead-up, emotions are high and there is potential for hostility and divisiveness to flourish. There is however the more positive outcome, that these events serve as a catalyst for a greater unity and a collective stance for the good of all.

While Jo’s tragic and wasteful death was unequivocally horrific and heart-breaking, it also gave rise to overwhelming acts of generosity from the general public and unrivalled comradery in the Houses of Parliament. This tragedy also sparked a significant conversation on the importance of solidarity and indiscriminate compassion for humanity, with the hashtags #LoveLikeJo and #MoreInCommon emerging to diffuse divisive rhetoric and promote understanding in the public sphere.

It is in this light and sentiment, and with the outcome of the EU referendum, the United Kingdom must now pull together, as it has so often done in the past, despite clear differences in opinion and direction. Division must not be allowed to take hold, and divisive rhetoric must not take root. While many would have preferred to see the UK remain in the EU, now is the time for us all as a nation to accept the decision that we have reached together through the democratic processes we have upheld for centuries, and indeed advocate for across the world. It is important for us to commence the healing process that is needed after these months of committed campaigning, and to comfort all who are now fearful of the future, and suffering the distress of uncertainty, especially due to the immediate effects on the economy.

Regardless of what the future holds for the United Kingdom we can be certain that we are in the hands of a mighty God Who is unchanging and with us throughout our various challenges. It is our role as Christians, not only to be stewards and active citizens within our countries, but to provide holistic support for all who find these events overwhelming and distressing.

We pray for the Prime Minister, our parliament, and all those entrusted with the leadership of these great nations, confident that the United Kingdom will find a way to embark on this new stage in history, together united.