The Venerable Howard Levett RIP

The Venerable Howard Levett who died in December aged 72 had been an influential figure in the Diocese of Egypt before and during the episcopate of Bishop Ghais Abdel Malik. A Lancastrian by birth, he was destined to find priestly fulfilment in places very different from his native Blackburn. Ordained in 1968, he served for 12 lively years in parishes in South London before going out to Egypt as Chaplain in Alexandria. He was also Archdeacon of the diocese from 1980 to 1994 and as such had the task of overseeing the transition from the resignation of Bishop Ishaq Musaad to the election and installation of Bishop Ghais. On returning to the U.K., he exercised a notable ministry as Vicar of the famous London church of St. Alban the Martyr, Holborn before finishing his working days on a quieter note as Chaplain in Venice. He served for a time on the committee of the Egypt Diocesan Association and was a Director the Jerusalem and the Middle East Association until his death. He was unmarried.

Howard Levett was a larger then life personality. He could be fun and he could be infuriating! He held strong opinions and his voice was rarely silent on committees or in synod. His “High Church” stance never really sat easily with the rather more conservative tradition of the diocese. But he was serious about his faith and his sermons, though rarely short, were always well constructed and thought provoking. He loved Egypt and, whether rightly or wrongly, always sought to do what he thought was best for her. As a zealous administrator from Britain, he perhaps never quite accepted that Middle Eastern ways were different and things got done there at a slower pace. He was very sociable, had been a disc jockey in his youth and was a superb dancer.  Being something of a “bon

Viveur” and living at Stanley Bay, he fitted naturally into that city where the aura of Laurence Durrell’s “ Alexandria Quartets “ still lingered on.

Whether one agreed with him or not, Howard’s dynamic ministry in Egypt at a time of change deserves not to be forgotten and many of us were grateful for his friendship. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Canon Philip Cousins

with contribution from Janet Cousins and Margaret Ford

 

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