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Fwd: Meeting between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox in Warburg, Germany

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  • Thomas Daniel
    ... wrote: Meeting between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox in Warburg, Germany From Friday 27 July 2001 until Sunday 29 we, Eastern Orthodox and
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2001
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      --- In IndianOrthodox@y..., "Fr.Philip Kuruvilla" <frpkuruvilla@>
      wrote:

      Meeting between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox in Warburg,
      Germany

      From Friday 27 July 2001 until Sunday 29 we, Eastern Orthodox and
      Oriental Orthodox bishops, priests, deacons, readers, monks,
      laypeople and youngsters, living mostly in Western Europe, gathered
      together in Warburg near Kassel, Germany, in order to know each other
      better as well as to discuss issues of mutual interest and of
      possible common action. More than 30 people coming from eleven
      countries were present. The list of all participants will be given in
      the Appendix. Our meeting was honoured by the presence of three
      Bishops: Bishop Damian of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Germany who,
      very generously, invited the whole group to stay at the Coptic
      premises; Metropolitan Seraphim, Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of
      Western and Central Europe with seat in Germany and his secretary Fr.
      Calinic, as well as by that of Archbishop Mor Julius Cicek of the
      Syrian Orthodox Church accompanied by two monks from the monastery in
      Hengelo near Enschede, the Netherlands. Our meeting was in fact an
      implementation of pastoral outcomes of the official theological
      dialogue, in order to know better our Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
      Orthodox brothers and sisters and their specific traditions. This was
      proposed several times in Recommendations on Pastoral Issues of the
      Official Theological Dialogue. For example, in Chambésy, Geneva, in
      September 1990, in Relations of our two Families of Churches (I), it
      was stated that «We feel as a Joint Thological Commission that a
      period of intense preparation of our people to participate in the
      implementation of our recommendations and in the restoration of
      communion of our Churches is needed. To this end we propose the
      following practical procedure. It is important to plan an exchange of
      visits by our heads of Churches and prelates, priests and lay people
      of each one of our two Families of Churches to the other » (...) and
      also « to exchange theological professors and students » (...) « In
      localities where Churches of the two Families co-exist, the
      congregations should organize participation of one group of people-
      men, women, youth and children, including priests-, where possible
      from one congregation of one Family to a congregation of the other,
      to attend in the latter's Eucharistic worship on Sundays and feast
      days. « (see `Towards Unity', chief editor C.Chaillot, Geneva 1998,
      p.65). Recommendations of members of the Official Dialogue of
      September 1990 also suggest to work for « our common service to the
      world of suffering, need, injustice and conflicts » (...)« We need to
      think together how best we could co-ordinate our existing schemes for
      promoting our humanitarian and philanthropic projects in the socio-
      ethnic context of our peoples and of the world at large. This would
      entail our common approach to such problems such as: a) hunger and
      poverty, b) sickness and suffering, c) political, religious and
      social discrimination, d) refugees and victims of war, e) youth,
      drugs and unemployment, f) the mentally and physically handicapped,
      g) the old and the aged ». So we came together to see what can be
      discussed and done together.

      Firstly, on Friday afternoon, we went to the Syrian Orthodox
      Monastery of St. Jacob of Sarugh situated in Warburg where we learned
      about the Syrian Orthodox history, culture and liturgical life. The
      questions posed were answered by Father Hanna Aydin, who is the Abbot
      of the monastery as well as the director of the seminary (where
      theology, liturgy, Syriac language and culture are taught): the place
      is also the seat of a new diocese since 1997. We attended vespers
      sung in Syriac language by the Syrian Orthodox students of a summer
      course of Syriac language. In addition, we were astonished to hear
      about the tremendous amount of work done in the 44 Syrian Orthodox
      parishes establised in Germany since 1981, with more than 60000
      faithful, mostly from Tur Abdin (South East Turkey) and by others
      coming from Syria, Lebanon and also Iraq.

      On Friday late afternoon we went to the Coptic Village in
      Borgentreich, and started there by introducing each other.
      Several sessions held on Saturday were dealing with two key issues
      chosen by the participants for the morning and afternoon meetings:
      (1) interaction in practice betwen the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
      Orthodox;
      (2) youthwork.
      (1) Within the given theme we identified the following main topics,
      and many examples from churches in different countries were given:
      - social issues: it was suggested to have a future common net of
      diaconial work, e.g. among the immigrants, handicapped, elderly, etc.
      - liturgical issues: e.g. to have liturgical explanation about the
      different traditions, perhaps in a form of a conference; regular
      common meetings of clergy on local and national level were proposed,
      who could also be joined by lay and young people, as it has been the
      case in Australia for many years.
      - cultural issues: an icon exhibition of the different traditions was
      suggested. (Bishop Damian is ready to host such an event in the
      Coptic Village in Borgentreich).

      (2) On Saturday afternoon the core of discussion was on youth work.
      The participants shared their experience in youth fellowship and
      deliberated how to motivate youngsters to take an active part in the
      Church life. Many people stressed that parents and even grandparents,
      and the example of an Orthodox attitude especially towards the
      children and the family life in general, plays a big role in passing
      on the faith in a lively way. The Church herself should be more open
      in a way to help the youth to understand the Orthodox Christian life,
      for instance by arranging a cathechetical material, perhaps in a form
      of leaflets, in different European languages. Moreover, we tried to
      reflect upon the mutual relationship of ethnic and religious
      identities and upon common problems.

      On Saturday evening we attended vespers in the Byzantine rite, sung
      in various languages. On Sunday morning the Syrian, Ethiopian and
      Armenian Orthodox clergy celebrated the Coptic Orthodox Liturgy, with
      the presence of the Eastern Orthodox, in Brenkhausen, in the Coptic
      monastery named after the Virgin Mary and St. Maurice, a Christian
      born in Egypt who died in the 4th century as a martyr with his Theban
      Legion in Switzerland. The Coptic monastery is situated 35 km from
      Borgenreich, and is being restored since 1994.

      As for the activities of the Coptic Orthodox Church, which has been
      present in Germany since 1975, there are now 6 000 Copts organized in
      8 communities, (23 in all Europe), with 2 monasteries and a cultural
      centre in Borgentreich, 15 km from Warburg, huge ex-military areal
      with lots of potential with ambitious plans for the future.

      Three Ethiopians, including a priest, Father Semu Mitiku (Germany),
      and a deacon, Fisseha Teferi ( the U.K.), also joined the meeting and
      helped us to get a basic insight into the situation of the Ethiopian
      Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Europe: more than 50000 faithful in
      Europe (with about 12 parishes mainly in England, Sweden, Italy,
      Austria, Greece, the Netherlands, and about 20000 faithful and 6
      priests in Germany). There was a presentation of the Ethiopian
      Orthodox Youth Association Mehebere Kidussan, with the seat in Addis
      Abbaba and recently being established also in Europe.

      An Armenian deacon from France, Philippe Sukiasyan, explained about
      the history of the Armenian Church, its modern reality and problems
      in diaspora and he also shared his experience of growing in a double
      cultural context.

      Alexandra Popescu and Lilian Agi represented the Eastern Orthodox
      youth movement of Germany.

      The two participants from Finland, Lea and Shimelles Tenaw-Rissanen,
      explained that the International Orthodox Community of the Helsinki
      Orthodox Parish, named St. Isaac of Nineveh, welcomes all Oriental
      Orthodox living there to join their parish and liturgical life as
      they don't have their own churches there: this situation is fully
      recognised by the Orthodox Church in Finland and they have several
      activities, such as family camps, excursions, seminars, exhibition of
      icons and Church ustensils, food bazaar, as well as the publication
      of a newletter `St. Isaac News'. Moreover, Oriental Orthodox priests
      are invited from abroad occasionally to conduct Oriental divine
      liturgy service in their native tongues and participate in seminars
      organized by the Community.

      Rudolf Stransky from the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church, who helped to
      organise the whole event, spoke on the possibilities of supporting
      Armenian immigrants living now in the Czech Republic not to lose
      their religious identity.

      Concretely, the representants of different youth movement decided to
      invite one another to participate at each other's future activities.
      Bishop Damian proposed to convert one of the buildings of the Coptic
      centre into a youth house so that youth movements of Eastern Orthodox
      and Oriental Orthodox could share in their activities. Bishop Damian
      also offered the premises of the Coptic village in Borgentreich as a
      possible permanent meeting centre for conferences, retreats and other
      future happenings. Monasteries were also suggested as another option
      of a cheap meeting place.

      Metropolitan Serafim informed the gathering about his willingness to
      have Saints common to both Traditions depicted in the new Romanian
      Orthodox cathedral in Nuerenberg.

      We all agreed that conferences, at local and regional levels, on
      various themes, including ethics and other contemporary problems,
      could be organised. Some people should be appointed to organise
      future meetings in order to foster continuing relationship,
      principally through the Eastern Orthodox Association `Inter-Orthodox
      Dialogue' based in Paris and founded in 2000 by Christine Chaillot,
      the main organiser of this meeting.
      It was adviced that funds should be raised from within our own
      communities, or even through the help of professional fundraisers.

      In order to make their presence in contemporary Europe more visible,
      the participants have agreed to prepare a Western European guide of
      Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox sites (parishes and
      monasteries) with addresses, pictures and maps. Having such a book,
      it would be easier to organize common visits and pilgrimages. People
      have been appointed for each region. (Father Moussa, France; Bishop
      Anba Damian and Father Calinic, Germany; etc). In the Netherlands the
      Eastern Orthodox have already published such a booklet.

      Information from all Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches
      in western Europe and information about upcoming events, including
      news from other Orthodox sites, newly published books and CDs, etc.,
      will be collected on an international web site, which will be
      operated by an appointed committee with responsible persons for each
      tradition and to whom news, topics and notices can be sent by email.
      (Deacon Philip Sukiasyan for the Armenian tradition, Father Moussa
      for the Coptic tradition and other volunteers to be appointed).
      There is also a desire to have a Church radio for Eastern Orthodox
      and Oriental Orthodox.

      Conclusion. This type of meeting of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
      Orthodox prelates, clergy and faithful was held for the first time in
      Europe. It is very enriching to learn from the other traditions, at
      the liturgical, cultural and, especially, at the spiritual levels. It
      was also a unique chance for the Oriental Orthodox to meet each
      other. The accent was put on trying to find the way how to attract
      young people to Church, and how to increase the quality of the
      prayers and divine services, which should not be just a mere
      routine , but a means to develop a deep spiritual experience of the
      union with God through prayer. We enjoyed very much the hospitality
      we received in the Syrian Orthodox monastery and in the Coptic
      Orthodox places, and we may say that all participants were really
      enthusiastic about the whole event, (as clearly shown by a young
      representative of the Fellowship of Orthodox Youth in Poland, Pawel
      Zelezniakowicz, who came by hitchhiking!).
      We all came to the conclusion that it is a necessity to carry on
      similar encounters and events in an atmosphere of mutual love and
      respect in order to maintain our own Orthodox Faith Traditon, and
      every Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Tradition respectively,
      in continuity from generation to generation, which is more and more
      difficult in the context of diaspora. We hope to have similar
      meetings in the near future in Belgium, the Netherlands, England and
      France, and later in other places. All Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
      Orthodox Churches have now many parishes all around Europe. We have
      to prepare qualified people to serve our churches in Europe. We hope
      to produce a common practical network. We shall send these minutes to
      our Patriarchs, Bishops and all the people interested in these
      issues.


      List of participants, Warburg, Germany, June 27-29th 2001

      Germany
      - Bishop Damian (Coptic Orthodox Church in Germany), Propsteistr.
      1a, 37671 Hoexter - Brenkhausen, Germany; phone: 0049527136854/18905;
      fax: 0049527136742
      - Father Hanna Aydin/monks and students, (Syrian Orthodox Church),
      Kloster St. Jacob von Sarug, 34414 Warburg, 10 Klosterstrasse, phone
      0049-5641740564/fax 5641741507
      - Bishop Seraphim and Father Calinic (Romanian Patriarchate),
      Füterstrasse 166, 90429 Nurenberg, phone 0049 9113236910/fax 12/email
      vintila@gmx
      - Father Isakhanian Servardis (Armenian Catholicossate of Armenia),
      Berlin, phone 0049 303442952; phone/fax: 0049 2166 46366/942901;
      mobile 0049 1735157117 (excused for sickness)
      email: servardis@w...
      - Father Semu Mitiku (Ethiopian Church), Wolfartsweierer str. 7/10,
      76131 Karlsruhe, phone 0049 7219662509
      email: semu_mitiku@y...
      - Father Merawi Tebege (priest responsible for the Ethiopian Orthodox
      Tewahedo Church in Germany), Ueckarather strasse 2, 50793 Koeln,
      phone and fax 0049 2215992623
      - Alexandra Popescu (Ecumenical Patriarchate), 139 Kirchfeldstrasse,
      40215 Dusseldorf, phone 0049 2113180719
      email: popescu@p...
      -Lilian Agi, (Orthodox Church of Antioch), Hauffstr.9, 50825 Koeln,
      phone 0049 2215507641
      email: L.Agi@w...
      - Elisabeth Laruelle-Sidarous, (Coptic Orthodox), 23 Boedexer Tal,
      37671 Hoexter, 0049 527118906
      - Martin Mitry, (responsible for Coptic Orthodox youth), Landgraf-
      Georg str. 15, 64283 Darmstadt, phone mobile 0049 1795359496
      email: martin@m...
      - Michele and Daniel Riad (Coptic Orthodox), Lilistrasse 3, 63067
      Offenbach, phone 0049 69810242
      email: ariad@t...
      - Artin Kaplan (Syrian Orthodox)

      France
      - Father Moussa Anba Bishoy , (Coptic Orthodox Church), 138 bd Maxime
      Gorki, 94800 Villejuif, mobile: 0033603201547/fax 00331 49589200
      email: moussa.anbabishoy@f...
      - Joseph Stefanos, (Coptic Orthodox), 2 rue des Cailloux 92110
      Clichy, phone/fax 00331 42706795; mobile 00331 622962202
      - Weessa Marco, (Coptic Orthodox), 28 rue du 8 Mai 1945, 93360
      Neuilly-Plaisance, phone 003367696951
      - Philippe Sukiasyan, (Armenian), 123 avenue de Saxe, 69003 Lyon
      phone 0033 478606457
      email: psukiasyan@w...
      - Adel and Mervat Ayad, (Coptic Orthodox), 126/128 av. Général
      Leclerc, 92340 Bourg La Reine, phone/fax: 0033140910582
      email: Ad.Ayad@w...
      - Christine Chaillot (Patriarchate of Constantinople),
      Association `Inter-Orthodox Dialogue', 3 rue Meynadier, 75019 Paris,
      France, phone/fax: 00 33 1 42380104
      e-mail: acchaillot@h...

      Belgium
      - George Vanev (Patriarchate of Bulgaria), 103 rue de Bourgogne, 1190
      Forest Bruxelles, phone 00322 3432639
      - Miguel Demeter, (Byzantine Catholic Church), 10 rue du Docteur,
      1160 Bruxelles, phone 00322 6600590
      email: miguel.demeter@p...
      - Jakob Akay (Syrian Orthodox)
      - Albert Aktan (Syrian Orthodox)

      Holland
      - Archbishop Julius Cicek, (Syrian Orthodox), 7585 PK Losser, phone
      0031 534614764
      - Monk Mushe ? (Syrian Orthodox)
      - Monk Isa Oygur (Syrian Orthodox)

      England
      - Deacon Fisseha Teferi (Ethiopian Orthodox Church), 3 St. Nicolas
      Glebe, London SW17 9QH, mobile 0044771 4758277
      email: fissehat@h...

      Poland
      - Pawel Zelezniakowicz, (Orthodox Church of Poland), Geshiewicza 9?,
      15129 Bialystok, Poland, phone 0049 503376211
      email: pawez@w...
      Finland
      - Shimelles and Lea Tenaw-Rissanen, Metsätontunkuje 3J3902200 Espoo,
      Finland; phone 0035894521927/mobile 0414673632
      email: shimelleslea@d...
      - St. Isaac of Nineveh the International Orthodox Community of
      Helsinki Parish,Unioninkatu 39, 10th floor, 00170 Helsinki;
      phone00358 968440428 or 4521927, 041 4673632
      Sweden
      - Yuhanun Kurf (Syrian Orthodox)
      - Stefan Guven (Syrian Orthodox)
      Czech Republic
      - Rudolf Stransky, (orthodox Church of the Czek Republic), Jilova 25,
      77900 Olomouc 9, Czek Republic, phone 00420685415595/ mobile
      00420608725909
      email: samson_cz@h...
      India
      - Father Aby Kurian Pathickal (Syrian Orthodox from India),
      Perumbavoor, S.India 683542/now studying in St Vladimir Orthodox
      College, 575 Scarsdale rd, Tuckahoe, New York 10707, USA
      Programme for the Meeting between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
      Orthodox in Warburg in the Syrian Orthodox Monastery and in the
      Coptic Centre:

      Friday 27 July 2001
      Arrivals by 2 p. m. Welcome in the Syrian Orthodox monastery and
      Seminary in Warburg
      Opening speeches by Their Eminences Archbishop Dionysios of the
      Syrian Orthodox Church in Germany, and Bishop Damian of the Coptic
      Church in Germany, and Bishop Seraphim of the Rumanian Church in
      Germany
      Speech by Christine Chaillot to introduce the new Association in
      Paris `Inter Orthodox Dialogue'
      Introduction of all the participants, including their comments on the
      program so that it can meet their expectations, and presentations of
      some projects
      At 5 p.m. vespers according to the Syrian Orthodox rite
      Lodging in the Coptic Centre in Borgentreich

      Saturday 28 July 2001
      Presentations of possible common projects ( e.g. pilgrimages,
      retreats, study seminars and lectures, exhibitions of icons or
      others, any cultural event, youth camps, charitable and diaconical
      work, common website and radio projects, etc.)
      Discussions in small groups according to proposals e.g.: What can we
      do together in our respective country?
      Time for preparation of general and local projects
      Vespers according to the Byzantine Orthodox tradition in different
      languages
      Multicultural evening

      Sunday 29 July 2001
      Divine Liturgy according to the Coptic Orthodox tradition in
      Brenkhausen
      Final evaluation with written conclusions for future common projects
      Departures




      About the Association "Inter-Orthodox Dialogue"

      A General Assembly met in Paris, November 29, 2000 to decide on the
      creation of an association, "Inter-Orthodox Dialogue" (DIALOGUE ENTRE
      ORTHODOXES) with the main goal of providing opportunities for
      meaningful exchanges between Orthodox Christians and the general aid
      of Orthodox Christians. This association would be governed under the
      law of July 1, 1901 and the decree of August 16, 1901. Father Boris
      Bobrinskoy was appointed as President and Anne Christine Chaillot to
      the position of Secretary/Treasurer. The association DIALOGUE ENTRE
      ORTHODOXES was officially recognized on December 15, 2000. The
      Association's address is `Dialogue Entre Orthodoxes', c/o Anne
      Christine Chaillot (Secretary/Treasurer), 3 rue Meynadier, 75019
      Paris, telephone 0142380104, e-mail acchaillot@h...

      Father Boris Bobrinskoy

      Anne Christine Chaillot


      The goal of the association is to provide opportunities for
      meaningful exchanges between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox
      Christians; and the general aid of Orthodox Christians.
      1) Primarily to facilitate dialogue between Orthodox Christians of
      the Byzantine/Chalcedon tradition (Greeks, Russians, Rumanians, etc.)
      and the Oriental Orthodox Christians (Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian,
      Syrian and Indian Malankara) with the
      a) Publication of books, brochures, etc.
      b) Organization of conferences, concerts, youth meetings, trips, etc.
      c) Creation of a website, if cooperation
      d) Creation of a global/European orthodox radio broadcast with
      programs in English/French and other languages, if cooperation
      2) General aid to Orthodox Christians in the world, particularly to
      new communities in Africa and Asia and especially to the villages
      3) General aid, according to needs, to other Orthodox Christians
      In the future, other projects may be added to the ones listed above.




      Speech by Christine Chaillot in Warburg 27 July 2001:

      In a few words I would like to introduce the new Association, `Inter
      Orthodox Dialogue', which I have founded in Paris in December 2000,
      and to explain its aims and activities. I am the secretary and Father
      Boris Bobrinskoy, the Dean of St Sergius Theological School in Paris
      is the President. By `Inter Orthodox Dialogue' I mean the Dialogue
      between the Eastern Orthodox and the so-called Oriental Orthodox
      (Coptic, Ethiopian, Syrian Orthodox and Armenian). `Inter Orthodox
      Dialogue' is also the name of my house of publications for my books,
      printed in Poland by Orthdruck since 1993. (Rôle des images et
      vénération des icônes dans les Églises orthodoxes orientales (
      Geneva, 1993 ), The Malankara Orthodox Church ( Geneva, 1996 ),
      Towards Unity. The Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church
      and the Oriental Orthodox Churches ( Geneva, 1998 ), The Syrian
      Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East ( Geneva, 1998 ),
      and `Fidélité et vulnérabilité des plus anciennes Eglises d'Orient'
      in Les Richesses de l'Orient chrétien, collectif (eds. P.Baud et
      M.Egger) edition St Augustin, 2000). Some know that for years I have
      travelled in the Middle East, India and Ethiopia and, since 1989, I
      have written articles and books on the life and spirituality of the
      Oriental Orthodox Churches, with the special aim that Eastern
      Orthodox can know better their Oriental Orthodox brothers and sisters
      and their specific traditions.
      In fact this was proposed several times in Recommendations on
      Pastoral Issues of the Official Theological Dialogue. For example, in
      Chambésy, Geneva, in September 1990, in Relations of our two Families
      of Churches I, it is stated that «We feel as a Joint Thological
      Commission that a period of intense preparation of our people to
      participate in the implementation of our recommendations and in the
      restoration of communion of our Churches is needed. To this end we
      propose the following practical procedure. It is important to plan an
      exchange of visits by our heads of Churches and prelates, priests and
      lay people of each one of our two Families of Churches to the
      other » ... and also « to exchange theological professors and
      students »... « In localities where Churches of the two Families co-
      exist, the congregations should organize participation of one group
      of people- men, women, youth and children, including priests-, where
      possible from one congregation of one Family to a congregation of the
      other, to attend in the latter's Eucharistic worship on Sundays and
      feast days. « (Towards Unity p.65) As I was meeting many people of
      the two Families in their ancestral places and in the diaspora, I
      thought it would be good not only to write about the Oriental
      Orthodox, but also to organise meetings and activities in the
      diaspora context where we live. With this aim I thought of an
      Association with the seat in Paris, where I live, but with possible
      branches in all the countries of the diaspora where Eastern Orthodox
      and Oriental Orthodox live side by side, still, too often, without
      knowing each other.
      Here are some of the activities which I have organised since the
      beginning of the year in Paris: on March 3rd, in the Hall of the
      Musée de l'Homme, I presented a small exhibition entitled « Ethiopia.
      Aspects of the historical and cultural patrimony »;on March 25, in
      the new room of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Montfermeil, north
      Paris, Dr. J.C. Chabrier, a lecturer in Sorbonne university, gave a
      conference with slides on `the Monasteries and villages of Tur Abdin
      (South East Turkey); on April 19, in UNESCO, in Paris, concert of
      Oriental Churches: Ethiopian, Coptic, Syrian Orthodox, Greek and
      Arabic Byzantine, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Armenian and
      Russian; I had organised two similar concerts in November 2000 in an
      Orthodox church rue Lecourbe (Russian parish under the Ecumenical
      Patriarchate), and on January 19 in the Greek Orthodox cathedral, rue
      Bizet.; on April 29 Mrs Gohar Haroutiounian, a graduate student in St
      Serge Institute, explained the exhibition `Ani, capital of Armenia in
      the year 1000', in the Pavillon des Arts, lles Halles; on May 6, in
      the Syrian Orthodox Centre, the Syrian Orthodox liturgy had the
      participation of Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians, and some Eastern
      Orthodox, and was followed by a lunch and hymns of the present Church
      traditions. All events were free of charge, except for one exhibition
      entrance.
      Similar action could be organised wherever you live. Other projects
      are possible such as the following ones: Hildo Bos, present acting
      President of Syndesmos, the Orthodox Youth Movement, in a letter
      adressed to Bishop Damian on 1 January 2001, is proposing to have a
      Syndemos international event in the Coptic centre in Warburg in 2002
      or 2003. We can ask the ideas of Syndesmos members present here such
      as Rudolf Stransky who helped me to organise this meeting.
      Recommendations of the members of the Official Dialogue of September
      1990 also suggest to work for « our common service to the world of
      suffering, need, injustice and conflicts »: « We need to think
      together how best we could co-ordinate our existing schemes for
      promoting our humanitarian and philanthropic projects in the socio-
      ethnic context of our peoples and of the world at large. This would
      entail our common approach to such problems such as: a) hunger and
      poverty, b) sickness and suffering, c) political, religious and
      social discrimination, d) refugees and victims of war, e) youth,
      drugs and unemployment, f) the mentally and physically handicapped,
      g) the old and the aged ». Here we can discuss together all these
      subjects, except politics .
      We are sorry not to have with us the previous President of Syndesmos,
      Vladimir Misiuk, who was recently ordained as priest and has now
      parish obligations, as he had organised a similar Syndesmos meeting
      last summer in Poland, with Eastern and Oriental Orthodox: its
      friendly outcome inspired us to organise our meeting here. And we are
      happy to welcome two representatives from Poland. Father Heikki
      Huttunen of Finland, also a previous President of Syndesmos, has been
      a long time friend of many Oriental Orthodox. He is represented here
      by Shimelle and his wife who will tell us about the situation of the
      Oriental and Eastern Orthodox in Helsinki.
      For different reasons Eastern and Oriental Orthodox people from
      Holland and England could not come here. But some are ready to
      organise something similar in their country in the future. The
      Ethiopian priest in Holland intends to have, in May 2002, a meeting
      of the Ethiopian Youth Association called `Mehebere Kidussan', with
      seat in Addis Ababa and now with members in Europe, and whose
      President in Europe, Father Semu Mitiku, is with us. On that occasion
      it would be nice if some Eastern Orthodox people could be included. A
      Serbian Orthodox student in England wanted to join us but was
      responsible at the same time for a youth camp. With him, and others
      such as Bishop Angelos of the Coptic Church, Father Shnork
      Bagdassarian of the Armenian Church, and Father John Jillions of the
      Orthodox Theological School in Cambridge, a project could also be
      elaborated in England.
      As for liturgical life we shall have on Friday vespers in Syriac, the
      language close to Aramaic spoken by Christ; Byzantine vespers in
      several languages on Saturday; and a Coptic liturgy, in Coptic,
      Arabic, English and German? on Sunday.
      The aim of our meeting is not theological. As you may know a
      Commission of theologian experts have been appointed by their
      respective Patriarchates to discuss the theological issues, since
      1964 at an unofficial level, then since 1985 at an Official level. I
      compiled all their texts in a book called `Towards Unity. The
      Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental
      Orthodox Churches' (Geneva 1998), with a Russian translation in 2001.
      Following these meetings which took place until 1993, some
      Patriarchates of the two Families, specially in the Middle East, have
      not only agreed on their common christological faith, but have also
      signed common agreements on baptism/marriage, etc (Patriarchates of
      Antioch and Alexandria). Some conservative Orthodox don't accept yet
      the official agreements and think that the texts should be more
      developped: such is the case of the Patriarchate of Russia which
      began, in March 2001, a Bi-lateral Dialogue with the Armenian Church
      of Etchmiadzin and with the Oriental Orthodox Churches of the Middle
      East (Coptic from Egypt, Syrian Orthodox from Damascus and Armenian
      from Antelias/Beirut). Similar positions are found also in the
      diaspora context and we must respect them, waiting for more
      information to be given to the clergy and people about this
      theological and pastoral Dialogue.
      Here we meet to grow friendship and to discover one another life/
      reality and tradition at the liturgical, historical, cultural levels
      and, above all, at the spiritual level. Let us find new ways of
      meeting each other, of creating links and of sharing together our
      wonderful and ancient Church traditions. Let us create situations of
      integration in which people who maybe had no chance to meet will
      meet. Like artists created by God, with lightful energy, let us
      create ` new things' together. I hope that now we can learn a lot
      from each other and have many fruitful projects together.
      Finally I want to thank all of you who came here today and who will
      now introduce themselves. I want to thank with all my heart Bishop
      Dyonisius and Father Aydin (and all the monks and the students) for
      receiving us this afternoon in the Syrian Orthodox Monastery in
      Warburg. I also thank Bishop Seraphim of the Rumanian Church in
      Germany for his words of blessing for our meeting. Special thanks are
      due to Bishop Damian who was so generous, not only to invite us for
      this meeting, but to offer everything concerning the hospitality.

      Fr.Philip Kuruvilla/Peeli Achen/Phil
      --- End forwarded message ---
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