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Oriental Orthodox Churches' 8th Meeting

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  • SOCM News Bureau
    Heads of Oriental Orthodox Churches Conclude their Eighth Meeting, December 9-10, 2005, with a Common Declaration The Common Declaration signed by their
    Message 1 of 40 , Dec 27, 2005
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      Heads of Oriental Orthodox Churches Conclude their Eighth Meeting, December 9-10, 2005, with a Common Declaration

      The Common Declaration signed by their Holinesses, Pope Shenouda III, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I and Catholicos Aram I, reaffirmed their unity of faith based on common doctrinal position and theological teachings and manifested through Eucharistic communion and other sacraments of the Church.

      The three Heads of churches reaffirmed their commitment to the ecumenical movement both through the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches. In their solidarity and unity of faith, they feel responsible to strive for the unity of all the churches, in the region and other parts of the world.

      It is with the same spirit that their churches are actively engaged in bilateral theological dialogues with Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Reformed Churches which will further spell out the authenticity and orthodoxy of the Christological teachings of the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

      Together they called for the preservation of the sacredness and integrity of the Christian Family, an institution established by God, hence condemning all practices and behaviors related to marriage and sexual orientation that are not in accord with biblical and moral teachings.

      They reaffirmed the importance of inter-religious dialogue, underlining that Christian-Muslim Dialogue has been an integral part of the history, civilization and culture of the Middle East. With the prevailing situation and developments in the region, this dialogue of life should be enhanced to develop mutual respect and understanding between Christian and Muslim teachers, scholars and community leaders.

      They appealed to their communities living in different parts of the world to remain firmly attached to their native lands by supporting initiatives and actions that promote Peace with justice in the Middle East, highlighting the role their respective churches have played in this respect. The peace process must continue they said and UN Security Council resolutions must be implemented by Israel, and Iraq should regain its independence, integrity and sovereignty. Only full justice will bring a real, permanent and comprehensive peace in the region.

      Condemning all forms and expressions of violence, Heads of churches stressed that Religion in its essence is a promoter of love, hope and reconciliation. They appealed to their churches worldwide to remain faithful to the gospel committing themselves to give renewed efficiency and vitality to the witness of their churches.

      The full text of the Common Declaration is posted on the MECC website at: www.mec-churches.org <http://www.mec-churches.org/>
    • Jose Kurian Puliyeril.
      Devotional thoughts for the Sunday of the circumcision of our Lord ����� Feast of St. Basil and St. Gregory, the Great, New Year -2006 Reading: From the Gospel
      Message 40 of 40 , Dec 31, 2005
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        Devotional thoughts for the Sunday of the circumcision of our Lord � Feast
        of St. Basil and St. Gregory, the Great, New Year -2006

        Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 15: 5-19

        Dear and Respected Brethren,
        Today is the remembrance day of two great Orthodox Church Fathers, St. Basil
        the great and St. Gregory the great. More over it is the New Year day. All
        must be in the thrill of the blessed Christmas celebrations and must be
        waiting forward to welcome the New Year. The holy reading arranged for today
        by the Holy Fathers is so significant and relevant. Our Lord and Redeemer is
        explaining in very simple words, how a faithful could and must maintain his
        or her relationship with Lord God. When we realize the inner meaning of the
        given text, we will wonder how solemn is the tradition and faith of our
        Church. Our relation with our Lord is not for a day or a few days, whereas
        it is till eternity. Our Lord who introduces himself as the vine says that
        we are the branches. Our Lord�s promise is that we could have more fruits,
        if we would stay in Him. We all know very well that the branches which are
        cut from the main stem lose the life immediately. It is true that we must
        have a connection with the main stem to retain our lives. The life could be
        provided by the main stem of the grape vine. We might wonder why our Lord
        identified himself as the real vine. We all know that the wine is taken from
        the grapes, the fruit produced on the branches of the vine. Our Lord took
        the wine and converted it as the life giving blood of our Lord. He said
        �this is my blood�. The blood of our Lord sanctifies the faithful and
        retains the life eternal. Here our Lord is telling that the branches, which
        produces the grapes, have been kept alive while abiding in our Lord. We the
        faithful have to maintain real faith, true repentance, and loving obedience
        to keep up our link with our Lord. If we keep these things in our personal
        lives, we could have a solid life with our Lord God, who is the real vine.
        King Solomon the wise advises, �The
        fruit of the righteous is a tree of life�.(Proverbs 11: 30) So let us try to
        obey the commandments of our Lord God and be righteous. In Hosea 14:8 we
        read, I am like a green fig tree: From me is thy fruit found�. We read about
        the tree which do not produce fruits in St. Luke 13: 6-9. Grace of God
        enables the trees to bear fruits. The fruits of the Spirit are also
        depending the Grace and will of God. It is because of our Lord�s own words
        that we cannot do anything with him. Kindly see St. Matthew 5: 16 and
        Philippians 1: 11.

        In the 9th verse it is said that how much our Lord God loves us. How much
        love was granted to the son by God the Father, the same amount of love is
        granted to us by God the Son. Our Lord said �if you will obey my
        commandments I will abide with you.� Our Lord has limited his commandments
        to two. He wants us to love God and love our own brethren. It is His command
        to love each other. St. Paul also stresses the need to love one another in I
        Thessalonians 4:9. St. Peter also insists us to have mutual love. (I Peter
        4:8) See the 16th verse of today�s reading. We all are entrusted to bear
        fruits and to keep them for ever. Is it a hard job to love one another?
        Kindly think. Our Lord wants us to love whom we don�t know and who doesn�t
        love us. If our pride and stubbornness are not allowing us to love our
        brethren, are we not breaking our link with our Lord God? Let us put an end
        to our selfish thoughts and desires. Let us take a decision to obey our
        Lord�s commands to love God and love our brethren. Let us take a decision on
        this New Year day. May God strengthen us to do His will, rather than our own
        wishes and desires. Let us try not to forget that we are not for this world.
        Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. Let the Holy Spirit guide us and
        lead us through the virtuous paths which are pleasing to our Lord God. May
        the intercessions of the Great Church Fathers, St. Basil the great and St.
        Gregory the great be a fort of protection for us. Let us try to imitate the
        life style of these two Patron Saints. May God bless us.

        WISH YOU ALL A VERY BRIGHT AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. MAY GOD SHOWER HIS CHOICEST
        BLESSINGS THROUGHOUT THE COMING NEW YEAR AS WELL AS THE REST OF OUR LIVES.

        With prayers and regards,

        Jose Kurian Puliyeril.
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