*** DEBUG END ***


01 May 2015

The Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell writes:

FURTHER to your obituary of Canon Geoffrey Evans (Gazette, 24 April), he devoted the largest part of a long and faithful ministry to the diocese in Europe, and particularly to Turkey, serving for many years in Izmir (for part of that time with his responsibilities as Archdeacon of the Aegean and the Danube), in Ankara, and briefly in Istanbul.

He built warm relationships with the diplomatic community, who appreciated his personal pastoral care and his service to the wider British community in Turkey. It was for this that he was awarded an OBE.

He had a particularly close relationship with Willy Buttigieg, the consul in Izmir, who tells how, when Geoffrey first arrived, he had asked him to take care of the savings he had brought with him. Unfortunately, Willy said, he did not keep them for long because he was always raiding them to give to the many in need who came to him - on one occasion taking off his coat to give to a shivering beggar because "He needs it more than me." His generosity was shown in his pastoral care of the poor, people in prison, mental patients, and many others.

He built relationships with the NATO base in Izmir, to the extent that Turkish generals came to his remembrance service. He played a key role in developing the annual service of remembrance for the British, Irish, and Commonwealth troops who gave their lives in the Gallipoli campaign. It was a service at which he presided for many years, most notably at the 75th Anniversary commemoration attended by the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

He had a particular concern for the Christian minorities of Turkey, and especially for the Syriac Christian communities in the Tur Abdin, in the south-east of the country, and was a discreet champion of their cause in difficult circumstances, supporting young students from there, and raising funds for tractors and other practical assistance.

It was a consequence of my own visit with Geoffrey to the monastery of Mor Gabriel that led to the suggestion that Prince Charles ought to visit, which eventually happened, part of the Prince's continuing concern for the Christian minorities of the Middle East.

It was fitting that he was a recipient of the Royal Maundy in Westminster Abbey in 2011, the first occasion on which the diocese in Europe had been able to nominate recipients.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)