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A New Diocese and Bishop

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III discussed the desire for a diocese for Southern California with the clergy during his visit to New Jersey in September 1995. He suggested the name of His Grace Bishop Serapion, who had accompanied His Holiness on his visits from 1989 to 1995 and was well-known to them. The clergy joyfully agreed. A petition was circulated and signed by the congregations of the various parishes in Southern California and sent to Cairo.

His Holiness called upon HIs Grace Bishop Serapion, who was then General Bishop of Public, Ecumenical, and Social Services, to be the Bishop of Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawaii on November 14, 1995. At the same time, he called upon His Grace Bishop Youssef, who was then a general bishop serving the southern United States, to head a new diocese that encompassed the southern states from Arizona to Florida.

A celebration was held at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, after which His Grace spent a few weeks transferring responsibilities and preparing for his journey to California.

On December 23, 1995, His Grace arrived and was warmly received by the congregations of the various parishes. The enthronement ceremony took place on the same day at Holy Virgin Mary and Saint Pishoy Coptic Orthodox Church in Los Angeles. Across the street, a residence for His Grace had been prepared ahead of time.

Adapted from Khalil, Dr. Elhamy. The Making of a Diocese. Los Angeles: Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, 2008.

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

June 9, 2009