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Three archbishops from Iraq and Syria were refused entry into the UK despite being invited by the country’s Syriac Orthodox Church. Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf of Mosul, Archbishop of St Matthew’s Timothius Mousa Shamani and Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs and Hama, were all refused UK visas which would have enabled them to attend the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, last month. Prince Charles, who has long championed the cause of persecuted Christians in the Middle East, was a guest of honour at the event at St Thomas Cathedral and a personal letter was read from the Queen. The bishops were told that they were refused entry because they did not have sufficient funds to support themselves and because they might not leave the UK. Lord Alton of Liverpool, said he was incredulous when he heard the news. He said: “When the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch told me that these two bishops had been refused visas to come to the UK for the consecration of the new Syrian Orthodox cathedral I greeted it with incredulity and disbelief. Its a decision that brings shame on our country.”
Photo: Catholic Herald