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The Oriental Orthodox Churches Addis Ababa Conference,( Part IV)

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    CHAPTER IV OUR RELATION WITH OTHER CHURCHES (a) INTRODUCTION (1) We rejoice that there is a great longing for the recovery of Christian unity all over the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2004
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      CHAPTER IV

      OUR RELATION WITH OTHER CHURCHES

      (a) INTRODUCTION

      (1) We rejoice that there is a great longing for the recovery of
      Christian unity all over the world in our times, and we share that
      spirit fully. God wills the unity of the whole human race in His own
      Church. But the Christian world is divided into many bodies, a fact
      which causes much distress to us. So we are concerned to raise the
      question of what should be our relation with the many churches which
      comprise the Christian world. These churches can be considered under
      three categories. The Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic
      Church, and the non-Orthodox member Churches of the World Council of
      Churches.

      (b) RELATIONS WITH THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCHES

      (2) Though in our concern for the reunion of Christendom we have in
      our minds the reunion of all churches, from the point of view of
      closer affinity in faith and spiritual kinship with us we need to
      develop different approaches in our relationship with them. This
      consideration leads us to take up the question of our relation with
      the Eastern Orthodox Churches as a first step. We shared the same
      faith and communion till the Council of Chalcedony in 451, and then
      the division took place.

      (3) Concerning the Christological controversy which caused the
      division, we hope that common studies in a spirit of mutual
      understanding can shed light on our understanding of each other's
      positions. So we decide that we should institute formally a fresh
      study of the Christological doctrine in its historical setting to be
      undertaken by our scholars, talking into account the earlier studies
      on this subject as well as the informal consultations held in
      connection with the meetings of the world Council of Churches. Mean-
      while, we express our agreement that our churches could seek closer
      relationship and co-operate with the Eastern Orthodox Churches in
      practical affairs.


      (c) RELATIONS WITH THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

      (4) With the Church of Rome also we shared the same faith and
      communion till the Council of Chalcedony in 451, and then the
      division took place. We rejoice about the new awareness which the
      Roman Catholic Church has begun to show of the need on its part of
      recognizing the other churches, particularly the Orthodox Churches of
      the East. With this new spirit in view, we suggest that we should be
      willing to enter into conversation with the Roman Catholic Church
      with a view to closer understanding. In our relationship with it the
      principle of dialogue on the level of Churches must be adopted. In
      this connection, we should ask the Roman Catholic Church to
      reconsider its theory and practice both of maintaining unite churches
      and of proselytizing among members of our churches.

      (5) We are happy to note that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have also
      expressed a positive attitude in regard to establishing a dialogue
      with the Roman Catholic Church, and we hope that it will be possible
      for our churches to proceed in this direction in collaboration with
      them.

      RELATIONS WITH OTHER MEMBER CHURCHES OF THE WCC

      (6) With the non-Orthodox member Churches of the World Council of
      Churches we have cordial relations through it and we hop and pray
      that God will open the way for our mutual understanding and co-
      operation wherever possible. Of these Churches, the Old Catholic
      Church and the Anglican Churches must be considered in a special way.
      The Anglican churches, for instance, have always shown appreciation
      for the Orthodox Churches of the East, and we trust that this will
      lead to a fruitful dialogue between them and our churches. Our
      churches have also been in contact with the other member churches of
      the World Council of Churches. In our mutual relationship there have
      been, and still there exist, difficulties which arise from certain
      attempts at proselytism made by some of the Protestant Churches. WE
      hope that such attempts will cease. We believe that God who has
      brought our churches and the other member churches of the World
      Council of Churches together into friendly relations through that
      Council, will help us to grow in fellowship with one another and
      restore us all into fullness of unity to His own time and in the
      manner He ordains.

      THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT

      (7) Before we conclude, we would like to express a genuine
      appreciation of the whole Ecumenical Movement such as that made
      manifest through the World Council of Churches. The new spirit of
      fellowship, mutual understanding and co-operation fostered by the
      Ecumenical Movement has had beneficial effects in the life of all the
      churches involved.

      (8) We hope and pray that God will strengthen every effort made for
      the progress of the Ecumenical Movement to enable the churches to
      fulfil their mission through common and concerted efforts in ever
      greater faithfulness to our common Lord, Jesus Christ.


      CHAPTER V

      INSTITUTING A MACHINERY FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF PERMANENT RELATIONS
      AMONG THE CHURCHES

      1. In order to carry out the decisions of this Conference and to co-
      ordinate the efforts made by the various Churches in this respect, we
      resolve that permanent machinery should be established. So we appoint
      a Standing Committee consisting of two representatives recommended by
      each Church, who will have the following duties:-

      (a) To follow up the work of this Conference:
      (b) To arrange for the appointment of special Committees to study the
      questions referred to in the resolutions of this Conference;
      (c) To study in detail the proper and efficient ways and means for
      the establishment of a permanent Organization and Secretariat for our
      Churches.

      2. The members of the Standing Committee this appointed are:-

      Alexandria Anba Samuel
      Anba Athanasius
      Antioch His Eminence Mar Malatius Barnaba
      His Eminence Mar Severius Zakka
      Ethiopia Melake Selam Samuel Terrefe
      Dr. Getachew Haile
      India The Revd. Dr. K.C. Joseph
      The Revd. Dr. V.C. Samuel

      3. For the interim period between this Conference and the
      establishment of the permanent Organization and Secretariat, which
      should not exceed six months, we approve the appointment of Ato Seifu
      Metaferia as a temporary Secretary, his name having been submitted to
      this Conference by our sister Ethiopian Orthodox Church in response
      to our request, to carry out the practical work involved in this
      immediate stage. The Standing Committee in its first meeting should
      define the responsibilities of the interim Secretary and draw up the
      plan of work for this interim period.


      A STATEMENT ON PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE WORLD

      The Heads and Representatives of the Oriental Orthodox Churches,
      assembled in Conference in Addis Ababa during January 1955, wish to
      give expression to their deep longing to see Justice and Peace
      established for all peoples and nations in the world. Our Lord and
      Saviour Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, wills "peace on earth and
      good will towards all men". But the world in our times is constantly
      troubled by the threat and fear of war. In this atomic age any war
      can result in the destruction of the whole of civilization and even
      the worldwide annihilation of human life. Everything possible must be
      done to prevent the outbreak of war in any part of the world.

      Peace, however, is not merely absence of war. It is rather that state
      of life in which all the people and nations of the world move forward
      in harmony and co-operation towers the experience of God's Kingdom on
      earth. In such a state of human life the rights of individuals,
      communities and nations must be fully recognized. All men are equal
      in the eyes of God. All are children of the one heavenly Father. The
      blessings of God in nature are for all human beings without
      distinction of race, religion, colour, class or sex.

      Therefore, all human beings, communicates, peoples and nations must
      be treated on the basis of freedom of conscience, equality and
      justice. Our churches are committed by obedience to our Lord, to work
      for the establishment of justice for all. We would co-operate with
      one another and with world organizations which strive for the
      establishment of justice and peace in the world and we call on all
      peoples, nations and states of the world to do the same. May God
      bless and proper all efforts to this end by whomever undertaken.

      1. Coptic Orthodox Church (singed)
      2. Syrian Orthodox Church (signed)
      3. Armenian Orthodox Church
      4. Ethiopian Orthodox Church (signed)
      5. Syrian Orthodox Church of India. (signed)
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