H.G. Bishop Thomas
His Grace, Bishop Thomas of the El-Qussia and Mair Diocese in Upper Egypt became a monk in 1983 and was ordained a priest in 1987. Bishop Thomas works tirelessly to strengthen religious freedom and human rights in the face of personal risks. He was the first recipient of the St. Stephen Prize, a human rights award given by The Norwegian Mission to the East, for his efforts to speak out against the oppression of religious communities. Bishop Thomas is active in building schools and developing educational programs in Egypt’s Coptic Church. In 1999 he built the Anaphora Farm and Retreat Center in Wadi el-Natrun, where many of the monastic communities of the desert fathers lived 1500 years ago.