The Church of England and Oriental Orthodox Churches have formalised their ecumenical relationship.
The two Churches have formally established the Church of England-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum (AOORF), which has existed in an informal capacity for some years.
For the first time, the role of the forum has been clarified in a document that sets out its aims and objectives.
The forum brings together representatives from both Churches to encourage unity through common prayer, worship, witness and education.
It also gives space for them to consider documents from international dialogues and their significance, and discuss current pastoral, social and political issues, with the possibility of making responses.
The forum is Co Chaired by the Anglican Bishop in Europe, the Rt Rev Dr Geoffrey Rowell, and the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Bishop Angaelos.
Bishop Rowell said he was “delighted” that the informal channel of communication between Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox in England was now “put on a firmer footing”.
“With the increased numbers of Christians from the Oriental Orthodox Churches living in this country it is important that Anglicans build closer relationships with these churches.
“The appointment of Bishop Angaelos as an official ecumenical representative at the General Synod is a sign of this and is greatly to be welcomed.”
Bishop Angaelos said: “At a time of increased challenge to the basic principles of morality and hope, concrete and visible unity in the life and witness of the Church is needed as a real support for our faithful and the wider community, and an affirmation of the viability and applicability of the Christian message.
“I feel that working together through AOORF provides a very real opportunity for our role to be even more prophetic in the United Kingdom as individual Churches, and the wider Church.”