VISITING Tonga: Christmas visit from old Christian church
Matangi Tonga (www.matangitonga.to)
Christmas visit from old Christian church
19 Dec 2005, 16:03
HG Bishop Suriel in Tonga
VISITING Tonga for Christmas is His Grace Bishop Suriel of the
Egyptian Orthodox Church, who arrived on December 14 on a 14-days
While in Nuku'alofa HG Bishop Suriel, who is accompanied by four
delegates, conducted a Coptic Church service at the Catholic Basilica
on Friday December 16.
Bishop Suriel said that on his arrival in Tonga, from the air he was
very impressed with the lush green land, "with the beautiful palm
trees, I felt that I was coming to a land full of love and
The Egyptian Orthodox Church, better known as the Coptic Orthodox
Church, is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. It was
established by the apostle Saint Mark in Alexandria, northern Egypt
in 55 A.D. - and so it has taken two millennium for a follower of
Saint Mark and a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church to land
in Tonga. The current leader of the church is His Holiness Pope
Shenouda III, the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of
Saint Mark, the 117th successor of Saint Mark, the Evangelist.
Bishop Suriel said that the church has 12 million members through out
the world, but most members are in Egypt where they face persecution.
The worst was in 2000 when 21 members of the church were massacured
by a fanatical Islamic group.
HG Bishop Suriel is based in Melbourne, Australia, where he is the
bishop for Melbourne, Canberra, Tasmania, South and Western
Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands. They also have
a church in Fiji.