ORIENATAL ORTHODOX RELATIONS STRENGTHENED
- PEACE UNTO YOU ALL:
Am glad to advise you that pursuant to the last Summer meeting of the
three Eastern/Orienatal pontiffs (Their Holinesses Pope Shenouda III,
Patriarch Paulos, and Catholicos Aram Ist) in Cairo, Egypt, which
brought forth the following joint declaration, H.H. Pope Shenouda III
has paid a three-day (April 11-13/ 2008) visit to the Ethiopian
Orthodox TEWAHEDO Church in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa. In
his short visit, among other things, besides the Divine Liturgy
(QIDDASE) which he concelebrated with Abuna Paulos at a grand
Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Pope Shenouda III laid wreaths on the tombs
of H.I.M. Haile-Sillassie Ist and the late H.H. Abuna Theophilus, I
think, in reminiscence to his previous visit to Ethiopia in 1973
during the regime of Emperor Haile-Sillassie and Pontificate of Abuna
Theophilus, the second Patriarch of the Ethiopian Church.
Let us hope that the renewed relation of the two heads of the Coptic
and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches will finally result in the resumption
of the first ever conference of the 5 Oriental Orthodox Churches
which was held in Addis Ababa in 1965.
Mebratu K. Gebru.
We, Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of
Saint Mark; Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenians of the
Great House of Cilicia, and Patriarch Paulos, Patriarch of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, give thanks to our Lord Jesus
Christ for granting us the opportunity to meet in Saint Mark's
Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, July 13-14, 2007.
We would like to emphasize the importance of this historical meeting
in which we reaffirm our unity of faith that, for centuries, has been
the basis of our common doctrinal position and theological teachings.
Deeply rooted in the Holy Scriptures, the Apostolic Faith and
Tradition, the three Ecumenical Councils (Nicaea 325, Constantinople
381 and Ephesus 431) and the teachings of our Chur5ch Fathers,
especially St. Athanasius the Great, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St .
Gregory the Illuminator, our unity has sustained the life and witness
of the Churches of the Oriental Orthodox Family becoming a living
source of spiritual strength and missionary engagement. For the
Oriental Orthodox Churches, the full communion and the visible unity
of churches are based on the unity of faith which is manifested
through Eucharistic communion and other Sacraments of the Church.
Pope Shenouda III and Patriarch Paulos would like to express their
deep thanks to His Holiness Aram I for his fraternal efforts to bring
this historic meeting into reality, hoping for him a safe journey
back to Antelias-Lebanon, after his important visit to Addis Ababa.
After signing the protocol of the relations between the Coptic
Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in April
1994 by the heads of these churches through the approval of both holy
synods, no meeting was possible to take place between the two heads
since that time. Also, the Joint Commission did not continue its work
after signing the protocol except during the short visit of the
Coptic-Armenian delegation last month from Cairo and Antelias to
Addis Ababa. Both churches are looking forward to the continuation of
their historical relations with the pastoral services and doctrinal
teachings. Convening a Joint holy synod is possible in fulfillment of
the articles of the protocol.
Pope Shenouda III and Catholicos Aram extend their congratulations to
His Holiness Abune Paulos on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of
his enthronement as Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Patriarch Paulos and Catholicos Aram I would like to express their
thanks to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III for his warm hospitality.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all the faithful of