During a speech, The Prince said: “It gives me great happiness to be present at the consecration of the Cathedral of St Thomas.
“It is surely deeply encouraging, at a time when the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church in their homelands of Syria and Iraq are undergoing such desperate trials and such appalling suffering, that in Britain the Syriac Church is able to expand and gain in strength. In this way the consecration of your Cathedral is indeed a notable sign of hope for the future.”
Well spoken, Your Highness! Thank you, Sir. Anglicans have long had both contacts and (given our emphasis on tradition and antiquity) theological affinity with the ancient Orthodox Churches of the East, dating back at least to Theodore of Tarsus, who served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 to 690, but in fact going back much further.
It is reported that British bishops may have been present at the Council of Nicaea (in Asia Minor) in 325! And given that Britannia was a Province of the Roman Empire until c. 400 AD, and that sea travel was often faster and safer than travel by land, it is not surprising that contacts between East and West were more common than many nowadays believe.
In any case, it was very gracious of HRH The Prince of Wales to give Royal support and blessing to the new Cathedral, especially given the challenges Syrian Orthodox Christians are experiencing in their homelands, as His Highness’ address mentioned. I wish them many blessings!