We received the following Press Release from Bp Angaelos, bishop of the Coptic Church in the United Kingdom
29 November 2013
Coptic Orthodox Church UK Media and Communications Office Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe) Media and Communications Office Royal Mail unveils their 2013 Christmas stamp collection featuring a Coptic Nativity icon by Hertfordshire-based iconographer Fadi Mikhail. The stamp, entitled ‘Theotokos, Mother of God’ depicts the Virgin Saint Mary embracing the Infant Christ. It is an example of the beauty and deeply rooted Faith and culture of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East which traces its roots back to the Apostle Mark in the first Century. Since its establishment in the United Kingdom in the 1960s the Coptic Orthodox community has been increasing in size, and more recently in activity. The Coptic faithful in the United Kingdom are active members of society who contribute to their wider community through a variety of spiritual and social networks and programmes. His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said: “This is an opportunity to not only portray the beautiful iconographic heritage of the Coptic Orthodox Church within British culture, but also its theology and teaching with respect to the message of hope and salvation in the Nativity, a Feast that is often transformed into a purely commercial occasion. It also lives as a testimony to the resilience of the Copts, who continue to live their Faith in the birthplace of Christianity and across the world despite the many challenges they have faced in recent months and years.” Fadi Mikhail, an active youth member of The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre said: “Coptic iconography was redeveloped in the 1960s and has enjoyed increased international interest since that time. I'm happy that this stamp is helping to elevate that status. Whether it is through art, music, language, or the reconstruction of churches, there is a movement both within and outside Egypt in which Copts are rebuilding themselves for the future, and I see Coptic iconography as a key factor in heralding this movement forward.” Along with this historic stamp, an icon from the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of St George depicting St Mary and the Child Jesus, also written by Fadi Mikhail, has been chosen by Christians Aware as part of their Christmas card collection for 2013.