The Anglican community of the island celebrated the enthronement of the sixth bishop of the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, the Right Reverend Sean Semple, at St Paul’s cathedral in Nicosia on Saturday.

Metropolitan Porphyrios represented the Orthodox archbishopric, joined by Maronite Archbishop Selim Sfeir, Vice Grand Mufti of Cyprus Imam Shakir Alemdar, and members of the diplomatic community.

Bishop Sean was admitted to the cathedral by Dean Jeremy Crocker, and the mandate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East giving authority to enthrone him was read by Canon Georgia Katsantonis.

The congregation heard Bishop Sean present his charge – an outline of the principles and priorities of his episcopal ministry. In it he spoke of a unique Anglican diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, stretching “like a tent” across the geopolitical crossroads of the world. He spoke too of the “crucial values of spiritual discernment, Christlike behaviour and good neighbourliness” for Anglican Christians in the region who, he said, are often “migrants welcoming other migrants into their churches”.

Later in the service, intercessions invited prayers for President Nikos Christodoulides.

The service included the ceremonial escorting of the bishop from the cathedral, its doors closing behind him. Shut outside, Bishop Sean, in accordance with ancient tradition, raised his staff to knock three times, appealing to be let in: the doors opened, for Dean Jeremy and all inside to welcome the bishop to his seat (cathedra).

Music plays an important part in Anglican services. The enthronement included hymns accompanied by organist Valerie Fidelia, as well as the second movement of Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe Concerto in C minor played by Angelos Charalambous (oboe), Sorin Alexandru Horlea (violin) and Laura Rodgers (piano).

The first bishop of the diocese to be born in Africa, Bishop Sean was consecrated in St Christopher’s cathedral in Bahrain on May 24, in a service led by the Most Reverend Hosam Naoum, archbishop in Jerusalem and primate of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Bishop Sean is the first Anglican bishop to be consecrated in Bahrain or indeed the wider Gulf region.

“It is the greatest privilege of my life to now begin serving God and the people of Cyprus and the Gulf as their bishop,” said Bishop Sean. “We pray that we, like Abraham, would be blessed by God in order to be a spiritual and practical blessing to each nation in which we gather.”

Sean was ordained priest in the diocese of Natal in South Africa in 2011 and has previously served as a priest at St Helena’s church in Larnaca.

He studied Psychology and Theology at the University of Natal and the University of South Africa, followed by post-graduate studies in Spirituality and Clinical Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Nicosia.

Sean is married to Jenny, and they have five children and one grandchild.

The Anglican diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf

Established in 1976, the Anglican diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf is one of the three dioceses that make up the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, with churches across the island. (Visit to learn more about the work and worship of the many Anglican churches in Cyprus.)

As well as Cyprus, the diocese covers the Sultanate of Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Yemen. It is divided into two archdeaconries – Cyprus and the Gulf – with two cathedrals, St Paul’s in Nicosia and St Christopher’s in Bahrain. In 1984 the diocese established companion links with the diocese of Exeter in England and in 2005 with the diocese of Thika in Kenya.

The service was livestreamed and is available to watch at