Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Church, H.H. Karekin II visits the Orthodox Church of of the East

Devalokam (Kottayam, India): The Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II and a 12 member delegation from the Armenian Orthodox Church visited the Orthodox Church of the East from 5th to 8th of November 2008.

His Holiness Karekin II arrives to India

His Holiness Karekin II and entourage arrived on 5th November 2008 at 9AM at Nedumbassery Airport, Kochi. His Holiness and delegation was received colorfully by His Beatitude Paulose Mar Milithios, Catholicos Designate, His Grace Zachariah Mar Anthonios, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese, Sri. Oommen Chandy, Opposition Leader and former Chief Minister of Kerala, hosts of priests, monastics and laity.

His Holiness Karekin II’s delegations consists of Their Graces Bishops, Armash Nalbandian (Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church Diocese of Damascus), Anushavan Zhamkochyan (Dean of Yerevan State University – Theological Faculty), and Arshak (Samvel) Khachatryan (Chancellor), His Excellency Dr. Ashot Kocharian (Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to India), V. Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian (Pastor and Manager of the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy), Rev. Fr. Hovnan Hakobyan (Staff-Bearer), Mr. Suren Ter-Grigoryan (Shoghakat TV), Mr. Sunil Sobti, Ms. Paula Devejian, Ms. Manya Ghazaryan (Shoghakat TV), and Mrs. Susanne Reuben.

His Holiness the Catholicos of the East Receives His Holiness Karekin II

His Holiness Karekin II and the delegation from the Armenian Orthodox Church were received by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymus I, the Catholicos of the East at the Catholicosate Palace on the evening of the 5th of November. His Holiness Karekin II and delegation were received by His Beatitude Paulose Mar Milithios, Their Graces Thomas Mar Athanasios, Paulose Mar Pachomios, Zachariah Mar Anthonios Metropolitans, priests, deacons, seminarians and monks from the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East. Other leaders from other Churches and political leaders were also present.

The Armenian Orthodox Delegation was received with lit candles and the chanting of 'Thob'ashlom' by the Deacons and Seminarians of the Orthodox Theological Seminary Community.

His Holiness Karekin II and delegation was received by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymus I in his private residence. The two Supreme Heads of the the Sister Churches met with a fraternal embrace and sat together for a few moments. His Holiness the Catholicos of the East, Didymus I, recalled His Holiness Vazgen I of blessed memory, a predecessor of Karekin II, who inaugurated and opened the Catholicate Palace over four decades ago.

Afterwards, the Catholicoi processed to St. Basil's Chapel, the private chapel of the Catholicos of the East, where His Holiness Karekin II offered prayers. Following this, the procession continued to the tombs of the former Catholicoi of the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East. His Holiness Karekin II offered prayers and incense and their tombs. His Holiness also remembered in prayer, His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II of blessed memory.

His Holiness Karekin II and delegation were processed into the banquet hall escorted by His Beatitude and the other Metropolitans, for dinner. The Catholicos of the East, Baselios Marthoma Didymus I offered kind words and fraternal greetings to the Malankara Church. His Holiness Karekin II offered prayers and love to the sister church of the Armenian Church. The Catholicoi exchanged gifts and enjoyed moments of discussion during dinner. His Holiness Didymus I offered gifts and blessings to all the members of the delegation.

His Holiness Karekin II conferred the Order of St. Thomas

 His Holiness Karekin II and his delegation were received at Malayala Manorama headquarters at Kottayam on 6th November. There the Catholicos and delegation enjoyed the company of His Grace Thomas Mar Athanasius and Mr. K. M. Mathew, Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama over tea and snacks. His Holiness understood the great importance of the media coverage Malayala Manorama provides to the nation of India especially the State of Kerala. His Holiness offered prayers, blessings and gratitude of the hospitality of Mr. K. M. Mathew by offering an Icon of the Nativity of Christ to him.

Afterwards His Holiness' motorcade arrived at Mammen Mappilai Hall in Kottayam where he was received with traditional 'chenda melam' and a grand crowd of the faithful of the Malankara Church, who sought the blessings of this Supreme Patriarch Catholicos. Leaders from other Christian denominations including His Grace Zacharias Mar Theophilus, the Suffragan Metropolitan of the Marthoma Church, His Eminence Mathew Moolakattu Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kottayam, Bishop Thomas Samuel of the Diocese of Kottayam of the CSI Church and other Christian and political leaders.

This Civic Reception was hosted by His Holiness the Catholicos of the East where he conferred the 'Order of St. Thomas', the highest ecclesiastical award of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, upon His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Catholicos and Patriarch of All Armenians. The faithful were touched by witnessing the fraternal embrace of the two Surpeme Heads of the sister Oriental Orthodox Churches.

His Holiness Karekin II decorated His Grace Thomas Mar Athanasius with a beautiful 'Panagia' on the occasion of his 70th birthday celebrations. Following the public meeting and felicitations by other distinguished guests, a cultural program 'Aikya Bharatham' was performed by the students from Gujarat.

His Holiness Karekin II in Parumala

His Holiness Karekin II and the delegation from the Armenian Apostolic Church participated in Divine Liturgy on the morning of the 7th of November at Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, Parumala. Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Thomas Mar Athansius Metropolitan, in the presence of His Beatitude Paulose Mar Milithios and His Grace Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios.

Thousands of faithful Malankara Orthodox Christians filled the Church to catch a glimpse of the Catholicos Patriarch of all Armenians. Following the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness Karekin II gave a 'Panagia' to His Beatitude Paulose Mar Milithios, the Catholicos Designate and also to His Grace Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios. His Holiness was presented with gifts from Mar Osthathios and offered some words expressing the great joy to be with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

His Holiness reflected upon the life of St. Gregorios and encouraged the faithful to follow the great example of Mar Gregorios in following Christ our True God. After these words, His Holiness offered prayers at the tomb of St. Gregorios of Parumala. Following this His

Holiness the Catholicos & Patriarch of all Armenians was escorted to the private conference hall on the Parumala Seminary premises for breakfast with His Holiness the Catholicos of the East and other Hiearchs.

A motorcade procession was enroute from Parumala Seminary to the site of the proposed St. Gregorios Mental Health and De-Addiction Center. A public meeting was held in honor of the distinguished delegation from Armenia, especially for the Supreme Head of the Armenian Orthodox Church. During this function the foundation stone for this new center was blessed by His Holiness Karekin II in the presence of His Holiness Didymus I.

From this center, the entourage was taken to St. Mary's Cathedral, Puthiyacavu where the delegation was received by the local Diocesan Metropolitan, His Grace Paulose Mar Pachomios. A public meeting and a private luncheon was held in His Holiness' honor at the Cathedral. Following the luncheon His Holiness Karekin II inaugurated the newly built and consecrated Metropolitan's Residence & Diocesan Center of the Diocese of Mavelikara.

After the colorful reception under the auspices of the Mavelikara Diocese, His Holiness and his delegation departed to St. Mary's Church, Niranam one of the ancient churches established by St. Thomas the Disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. Prayers were offered by His Holiness followed by a public meeting.

At 5PM, His Holiness Karekin II along with some members of the delegation answered questions at a press conference held at Windsor Castle, Kottayam. The evening with the media came to an end with love, prayers and gratitude offered by His Holiness Karekin II to His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Didymus I, His Beatitude Paulose Mar Milithios, members of the Holy Episcopal Synod, the clergy and faithful of the Holy Malankara Church (the Orthodox Church of the East).

His Holiness Karekin II's Fraternal Visit Comes to an End

Saturday, November 8th, His Holiness Karekin II and delegation participated in Divine Liturgy at Orthodox Theological Seminary. They were greeted by Rev. Fr. Dr. K. M. George (Principal of the Seminary), Rev. Fr. Dr. Sabu Kuriakose (Principal Secretary to His Holiness the Catholicos), Rev. Fr. M. C. Kuriakose (Manager of the Seminary) and Rev. Fr. Saji Amayil (Professor of the Seminary). Holy Qurbana was celebrated by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilose, Metropolitan of Mumbai Diocese. After Divine Liturgy, His Holiness offered prayers and incense at the tomb of His Grace Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios of Blessed Memory.

A public meeting was held in honor of the Supreme Head of the Armenian Church and the esteemed members of the delegation. His Holiness presented the Seminary community with an Armenian cross and awarded Rev. Fr. Dr. K. M. George and Rev. Fr. Dr. John Mathews each a Armenian pectoral cross. His Holiness and entourage were processed from the chapel to Sruti, the school of liturgical music. At Sruti inaugurated the new recording studio by cutting the ribbon and unveiling the inauguration plaque. After praying in the studio, His Holiness turned on the system for the first time. His Holiness and the accompanying Bishops also performed the first recording of the newly inaugurated recording studio.

Following breakfast at the Sophia Center, the delegation proceeded to the Kolencherry Medicial Mission Center where they were received by that institution. During the brief public meeting, His Holiness unveiled two painting of His Grace Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios and His Grace Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus both of blessed memory.

After lunch, His Holiness inaugurated the recently completed dialysis wing and was given an extensive tour of the facilities. Some patients were able to receive the prayers and blessings of His Holiness as well.

The delegation then proceeded to the airport where His Holiness and entourage were officially sent off by Their Graces Thomas Mar Athanasios and Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitans.

This fraternal visit was a blessed experience for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. We look forward to further strengthening our relationship as sister churches.

Catholicos Aram wants Christians to celebrate Easter on same day

Rome :  Armenian Orthodox Catholicos Aram I has at a Vatican meeting with Roman Pope Benedict XVI proposed that the world's churches set a common date for Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. 

"There are no special doctrinal problems to achieve this goal, but only problems of the calendar," Aram, who heads the Catholicosate of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, told journalists in Rome at the end of his 23-27 November visit to Rome. 

In most years, Christians celebrate Easter on two different dates. One is marked by most Protestants and Roman Catholics, and the other by most Orthodox churches. 

Catholicos Aram I said he believed an ecumenical initiative to celebrate Easter on the same day would help give visible expression to Christian unity. 

Photo: Roman Pope His Holiness Benedict XVI and Catholicos of Cilicia His Holiness Aram I on Monday 24 November 2008 at Vatican, Italy.

Differences in the dates for celebrating Easter go back to the earliest Christian communities, although these were mostly resolved in AD 325 by the Council of Nicea. The major problems arose in the 16th century when Roman Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Julian calendar that had been established in 46 BC with the Gregorian calendar. 

It took some time for the new calendar to be adopted by all countries. However, most Orthodox churches still celebrate Easter on the date calculated by the Julian calendar. 

Much of the impetus for fixing a common date for Easter has come from the Middle East where Christians from different traditions live in close proximity, though very much as small Christian minorities. In some parts of the Middle East local churches have between them reached agreement on common dates for Easter. 

Speaking on 24 November at an ecumenical ceremony with Aram I, Roman Pope Benedict noted that in many parts of the world, Catholics and Armenians live side by side. "Increased understanding and appreciation of the apostolic tradition which we share will contribute to an ever more effective common witness to the spiritual and moral values without which a truly just and humane social order cannot exist," said Benedict. 

Despite the different methods used, in some years Easter does fall on the same date, as in 2001 and 2004, and again in 2010. 

In 1998, Aram had urged delegates at an assembly in Harare of the World Council of Churches to make 2001 "the beginning of a common celebration of Easter". The Lebanon-based church leader was then moderator of the WCC, which now groups 349 churches, predominantly Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox. 


Syrian, Ethiopian, Armenian Church Leaders Meet

Antelias :The Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Zakka Iwas I, arrived in Antelias on a special visit from Damascus on Tuesday, 15th April 2008  evening.

The Patriarch met with Catholicos Aram I discussing issues related to bilateral relations and cooperation between the two churches. They were later joined by the Spiritual Leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Abune Paulos, who was on a one-day visit to Antelias.

The three spiritual leaders discussed prospects for a number of inter-church initiatives. Welcoming his friends in Antelias, His Holiness Aram I stressed the need for continued contact and close cooperation between the three churches.

Oriental Orthodox Festival 2008, London

London, Nov. 21, 2008: St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, Brockley, London is hosting an Oriental Orthodox Festival on Saturday 22 November 2008.


This is an Annual event when all the Oriental Orthodox Churches join mainly in celebrating the Holy Eucharistic Service together. HG. Dr. Yakub Mar Irenaios Metropolitan of our Church along with HG Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church who is the President of the Council of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK and Ireland and HG Metropolitan Abba Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church are the Bishops who would lead the Service. All the Oriental Orthodox Churches will be represented
by clergy men and faithful. The event is expected to have a good ambiance well
reflecting the diverse yet unique nature of the Orthodox Churches in Communion.





Antelias : His Holiness Patriarch Paulos I of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia arrived in Antelias yesterday accompanied with six Bishops. The Patriarch will stay in Antelias for three days as the guest of His Holiness Aram I.


During his stay, Patriarch Paulos will ordain the newly built Ethiopian church, in the construction of which His Holiness Aram I played a decisive role.


Welcoming the Ethiopian Patriarch in Antelias, His Holiness assured that such visits further strengthen the cooperation between the two churches and the internal unity of the Oriental Orthodox family. The Pontiff observed that the challenges of the current world invite all churches to cooperation and the worlds religions to a frank dialogue.

Source: armeniandiaspora.com (Published on Nov. 24, 2008)


Metropolitan Kirill elected interim head of Russian Byzantine Church

Moscow: The Holy Synod of the Russian Byzantine Orthodox Church, an autocephalous Patriarchate of the family of Byzantine (Eastern) Orthodox Churches, which took place on December 6, 2008, at the patriarchal residence at Peredelkino near Moscow, has elected the Patriarchal Locum Tenens.

The Most Reverend Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations has been elected Patriarchal Locum Tenens.

The decision of the Synod has been signed by:

KIRILL, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations;

VLADIMIR, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, - chairman of the session;

VLADIMIR, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine;

FILARET, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus;

JUVENALY, Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna;

VLADIMIR, Metropolitan of Kishinev and All Moldova;

VALENTIN, Metropolitan of Orenburg and Buzuluk;

ALEXANDER, Archbishop of Kostroma and Galich:

TIKHON, Archbishop of Novosibirsk and Berdsk;

FEOFILAKT, Bishop of Bryansk and Sevsk;

STEFAN, Bishop of Tura and Mozyr;

CLEMENT, Metropolitan of Kaluga and Borovsk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate


The Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad


Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyaev) was born on 20 November 1946 in Leningrad to the family of a priest. He graduated from secondary school in 1964 and from the Leningrad Theological Seminary and Academy in 1970 with the degree of Candidate of Theology for his study on "The Formation and Development of the Church Hierarchy and the Teaching of the Orthodox Church on Its Gracious Nature".

He was tonsured by Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod on 3 April 1969. He was ordained hierodeacon on 7 April and hieromonk on 1 June of the same year. He was appointed personal secretary to Metropolitan Nikodim on 30 August 1970. As a teacher at the Academy and secretary to the Metropolitan he devoted much of his time to participation in the external activity of the Moscow Patriarchate. In 1971 he represented the theological schools of the Russian Orthodox Church at the SYNDESMOS General Assembly and was elected by the assembly to the SYNDESMOS Executive Committee. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on 12 September 1971 and appointed representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva. In 1972 he was elected to the Board of the WCC Fund for Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Indochina.

He was appointed rector of the Leningrad Theological Schools on 26 December 1974. In 1975 he became chairman of the Leningrad Diocesan Council. By the resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Pimen and the Holy Synod on 3 March 1976 Archimandrite Kirill was made Bishop of Vyborg, Assistant Bishop of the Leningrad Diocese. His episcopal consecration took place on 14 March 1976.

Metropolitan Kirill has been actively involved in the ecumenical activity of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1975 he was elected to the Central and Executive Committees of the WCC at its 5th Assembly in Nairobi. On 9 September 1976 he was appointed representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the WCC Plenary Commission "Faith and Order". He participated in the 1st Pre-council Pan-Orthodox Conference in 1976 in Geneva, as well as Orthodox-Catholic dialogues in 1978, 1980 and 1984. From 1976 to 1978 he was Deputy Patriarchal Exarch for Western Europe and later took pastoral care of the Patriarchal parishes in Finland. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop on 2 September 1977. Since 1979 he has been member of the Holy Synod Commission for Christian Unity, now the Synodal Theological Commission.

On 26 December 1984 he was transferred to the See of Smolensk. By the decision of the Holy Synod of 14 November 1989, he was appointed Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations and Permanent Member of the Holy Synod. In 1991 he was elevated to the rank of metropolitan. He is an Honorary Member of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Doctor honoris causa of the Reformed Theological Academy in Budapest. He has been decorated with high orders of the Russian Orthodox Church and many Local Orthodox Churches. In August 1993 he was awarded the international Loviis Peace Prize. In 2002 he received honorary doctorate in political sciences honoris cause from the University of Perugia, Italy.

Metropolitan Kirill is the author of more than 200 publications in church and secular press, as well as of a weekly TV program, which attracts large audiences


Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is taking place in Moscow

On December 10, a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church chaired by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad opens at the Patriarchal residence at St. Daniel's Monastery.


Taking part in the session are Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Valentin of Orenburg and Buzuluk; Archbishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich; Archbishop Tikhon pf Novosibirsk and Berdsk; Bishop Feofilakt of Bryansk and Sevsk; Bishop Stefan of Tura and Mozyr.


Metropolitan Kirill addressed members of the Holy Synod with the following words:


'I greet you, dear Most Reverend Vladykas:


The session of the Holy Synod today takes place without His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, our father and first hierarch. We all feel real spiritual grief.


His Holiness Patriarch Alexy had led our Church for eighteen years. Together with him we have walked along hard roads of social changes, political and economic cataclysms. The Church has overcome difficulties together with her people, sharing their suffering and grieving for the blood that was shed. At the same time, remarkable events occurred in the life of our country, our people and our Church. Our country was becoming free. The Church has become free. It is for the first time in many centuries that relations the Church and the state maintain are in full harmony with the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. They were reflected in the 'Foundations of Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church.'


By God's grace the life of our people has become peaceful. Today we can see political stability in society both in Russia and in many other countries, though tension and disturbances still exist that affect our Church.


His Holiness Patriarch Alexy had served to reconciliation and unity during his whole life, and commanded us to do the same. I believe that we must fulfill his commandment together as one episcopate of the one Russian Orthodox Church.


We have celebrated the requiem service praying for our late Primate. We believe that he is with us today.'


New Russian Patriarch will be elected on January 27-29


Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to take place on 27-29 January 2009


The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its session on 10 December 2008 took decision on the dates of the Bishops' Council and the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to elect Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

The Holy Synod resolved that The Bishops' Council will be held on 25-26 January 2009, and the Local Council on 27-29 January 2009.

The Holy Synod set up a commission for preparation of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. The commission consists of twenty-nine bishops, clerics, and laymen.

Patriarchal enthronement will take place on 1 February 2009.


The Oriental Orthodox Churches Addis Ababa Conference January, 1965- documents PART-III





Venerable and Holy Fathers,
In listening to the profound spiritual message conveyed by your closing addresses and appreciating the happy outcome of your sustained efforts, our heart has been touched by profound gladness. It should therefore be clear to the whole world from the result of your work that your Holiness have guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit to accomplish your task in love and unity.

The great common tasks accomplished by this Conference in unison bestowed on the true faith and true order of the Oriental Orthodox Church the admiration of the whole world.

As Solomon says, physical distance can not be a barrier to love. Likewise, the distances among your respective countries have been abolished by proximity of your hearts. You have thus been able to speak with a single tongue and think with a single mind. We thank Almighty God for enabling us to witness the realization of our dream in the successful outcome of this historical Conference.

We are therefore happy to express to you our readiness, fortified by the results of this Conference, to invite you and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and also other churches at the late date. We ardently hope that we shall meet once again in the not distance future.

As we stated at the inauguration of this Conference, to meet together, to take council with one another, and to act in mutual cooperation, has proved a most fruitful method both in the secular and spiritual fields. Henceforth the way is open for you to follow this fruitful path and to this end, our help and assistance will always be forthcoming since we support your efforts and ideas out of an unshakable conviction that it is our spiritual duty to do so.

We are gratified in particular to note that the work of this Conference has been concerned purely with religious spiritual matters, free from extraneous political considerations. This is only fitting and proper, for the church, as a symbol of peace, must follow the path of peace in all parts of the world. In this connection we are glad to note that our evangelistic mission in the world has received due emphasis in your deliberations, together with the recognition of the Christian duty to pray for the rights o man and peace in the world. For world peace can only be made abiding by the grace of God, through the prayer of the Holy Fathers. The truth of this cardinal fact is evident to all mankind.

We ardently hope that Almighty God shall bless the implementation of your important resolutions and decisions, just as He made possible the successful convening and conclusion of this historic Conference.


Your Imperial Majesty,

The psalmist says: “The king shall rejoice in thy strength O Lord! And in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! His glory is great in thy salvation: Honour and majesty hast though laid upon him” (Ps. 21 1&5.)

Now that this prophecy has come true, because we see you rejoicing in the strength of the Lord and in His salvation it is meet for us to say: The Lord has glorified His work in us and we have rejoiced. Ethiopia has heard and she is happy and the peoples of Orthodoxy have rejoiced. In your modesty, the Lord has granted you glory and has given strength to Orthodoxy with you.

In truth we the Heads of Oriental Orthodox Churches happily assembled here would not have brought about this meeting. God has singled you to bring this service to Orthodox peoples. For this and for all your previous services, you have deserved to be called the Defender of the Faith in the twentieth century.

As Faith came to Ethiopia through the see of St. Mark, so have you, by the grace of God, been able to bring this service not only to the see of St. Mark but to all the Oriental orthodox Churches. I remarked this Conference that the Lord has blessed Ethiopia from olden times. The Nile river flows down from her mountains to bring life to millions of human beings, and from this Conference held on the mountains of Ethiopia will flow the inspiration for the spiritual strengthening of Orthodox peoples. As you upheld the word of the Lord in the past, so will the Lord uphold you.

Beloved brother Patriarchs, Bishops and other members of the orthodox Clergy assembled in this Hall.
God has in His Divine Providence permitted that this Meeting of ours should take place, so that our hearts may be bound in the unity of Spirit which is love. We hope that this meeting will be followed by many other meetings and we are confident that Divine Providence will uphold the spiritual advancement of our Orthodox Churches by the means of this unity and these sacred ties. As for the decisions which the Conference has unanimously approved, God will help us to implement them in order that they should bring forth their fruit.


Your Imperial Majesty, Brothers,
For myself I should praise the Lord who has granted me – through your prayer- strength so that I may join you and enjoy your holy company.
May God Almighty give the world the blessing of peace and security and may He preserve our countries and our governments and their heads.
May God Almighty preserve our beloved Orthodox brother Emperor Haile Sellassie I and the Crown Prince and the other members of the Imperial Family.
We ask him to preserve the life of our brothers the Patriarchs of Orthodoxy and to glorify His name in their persons. We ask Him to bring health to our dear brother Anba Basilios, Patriarch Catholicos of Ethiopia, to bless the Bishops, clergy, people of Ethiopia and the churches and peoples of Orthodoxy.



Your Imperial Majesty, Holy Fathers and Brothers, beloved Clergy and people.
Today is a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving. We rejoice as we were privileged to meet as members of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, sharing the common faith and communion after centuries of isolation, and also because God has enabled us all to meet in one mind and heart, and discuss with frankness matters of common concern in an atmosphere of brotherly love, and decide to take steps not only to establish closer contacts with each other and better understanding with churches, but also we decided to take steps to meet the challenges of the changing times, thus enabling our churches both as a group and severally better instruments in the hands of God for the extension of His Kingdom.

All this would not have been possible but for the fact that His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie I, Defender of the Faith, had not shown courage, faith, wisdom and vision to bring us together. This had not been an easy task. Apart from the tremendous cost and work involved in the convening of such a Conference, the arrangements, which could never be excelled, His Majesty’s guidance in this Conference, His deep rooted Christian faith, knowledge, devotion and humility had been a source of inspiration to us all. We are proud of Him and His country. We have always prayed for Him as our one and only Orthodox King, and we shall continue to pray for Him and His people. May He Live for many more long years to come. May He be blessed to help to execute the decisions of this first Conference as Constantine for the Council of Nicea.

The great hospitality and love shown by His Holiness the Patriarch of Ethiopia, the Archbishops, bishops, clergy and the faithful of this great country has far excelled even our wildest imaginations. We pray for the restoration to health of His Holiness Patriarch Basilios. May the Almighty bless all the leaders and the people of both this great church and this great country.

Our Churches have gone through in the past great difficulties and trials and there were real moments of darkness. Many of Our Churches had to fight for their very existence. But through it all our fathers maintained undefiled the faith that had handed to them. God will never forsake His Church. He said “Lo, I am with you always”.

This Conference surely is a sign of this promise. Holy Spirit was present throughout, and His hand of guidance was visible in our midst. As we go back to our respective lands, may we take back this spirit of Addis Ababa with us. We are determined that the forward steps we have taken in the many-sided activities of the Church will never be reversed. We return with confidence that from now on the Oriental Orthodox Churches are not more the isolated pockets which shared a common heritage and faith, but a united and living organism, determined to work together for the glory of God.

With thankful hearts and penitent sprit, may we pray the Almighty to fulfil in and through us purpose He has for us.



Your Imperial Majesty, Holy Fathers, Eminent Brothers, Clergy and People.


It is with a heart full of joy and thankfulness that I stand here today. I am reminded of the words of the old Simon when he saw the child Jesus. Simon had been waiting to see the consolation of Israel. When he saw the child Jesus, he knew that salvation had come to his people. His heart was filled with joy and he sang to the glory of God.


This day is a great day for all of us, and for our Churches. We have always been one in our faith, but for centuries our Churches lived in isolation. That isolation has been broken. At this conference, our Churches have been brought together once again. In brotherly love, we considered our problems together. We made many unanimous decisions. We have seen a new beginning for our ancient Churches. Our hearts go out in gratitude to God.


On this historic occasion, we all want to say a special word about His Imperial Majesty, Haile Sellassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia. He reminds us of some of the great Christian Emperors in the early history of the Christian Church. It was His vision that brought us together. In His very inspiring opening address. His Imperial Majesty remained us about the duties of the Church in the modern world. His wisdom, piety, and love of peace, have been an example for us. The vast amount of money, the time, and the energy spent on this conference showed how much His Imperial Majesty is concerned about the good of the Church. At this time I specially remember His Imperial Majesty’s visit to India and the interest He took in the Church in India. I am confident that I am voicing the thought of all of us when I speak of His Imperial Majesty as the Defender of the Orthodox Faith. In the name of us all, I place on recorded our grateful thanks to His Imperial Majesty. May God bless Him and the Imperial family.


The Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Imperial Ethiopian Government have made our stay in Ethiopia a vary happy experience, and we are all grateful to them. The ties that bind the Ethiopian Orthodox Church with our church in India are very ancient. When the invitation to this conference came, my old age and physical infirmity made me hesitate. But my life-long desire to renew contact with this ancient sister-Church encouraged me to undertake this long journey from far-off India. I am now glad that I came. At the celebration of Epiphany the other day, we saw something of the special traditions that this Church developed over the centuries. The singing of the Debteras thrilled all of us. We sister-Churches have much to learn from Ethiopia. The only thing that made me sad was that His Holiness Abuna Basilios, the Patriarch, was not able to be with us in the meetings. We shall al pray for His Holiness’s health.


I shall be falling in my duty if I do not say a work of thanks to His Excellency, the Secretary-General, who conducted our meeting so efficiently. I want also to thank all those others who remain unnamed, but worked hard for the success of this conference. Those who looked after our comforts at the residences and on the way deserve our gratitude. On behalf of us all, I thank them all most sincerely.


Addis Ababa is a city blessed by God. The spirit of unity and brotherhood which we experienced here will go forth from this city to all the lands from which we came. In this blessed city, we have gained a new vision of the glorious vocation of the Church. The Bride of Christ is arrayed in the glory of her Bridegroom, and we rejoice. We sing with the Prophet Isaiah “Enlarge the place of the tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy slakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited:. (Isa. 54: 2-3)



Holy Fathers and Brothers in Christ,

It is with a heart full of gratitude to Almighty God that I stand here at this time. This is indeed an occasion of unbounded joy for us in Ethiopia and for me personally the happiest moment In my life. Ethiopia is blessed by your visit, and will remember this glorious event for many long years to come. So it is my most pleasant duty and privilege to express, on behalf of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and of my own humble self, the gratification we all enjoy on this auspicious occasion.


As Heads and Leaders of a great tradition in Oriental Christendom, you have come to Ethiopia representing oldest Churches in the world. We are most grateful to each and every one of you for your kindness in visiting us and graciously talking part in this historic conference.


Ethiopia as an Orthodox Christian country is readily accessible to any of you at any time, and we would like you to take advantage of this situation and visit us whenever you can. We are able to confidently affirm this because our Emperor is a most devout member and protector of the Church, because His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie I and the royal family are noted both in Ethiopia and in the outside world for their love of the Church. As you are well aware, the one man whose far-sighted vision and determined effort made the convocation of this Conference possible is His Imperial Majesty.


In the history of the Church, beginning from the time of Emperor Constantine the Great of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, there have been many faithful Emperors and rulers of Kingdoms who have taken the imitative in convening Councils and Synods of the Church. His Majesty stands in the tradition of those great men, and the convocation of this Conference marks the crowning act or His illustrious service to the cause of the Church. It is therefore our most pleasant duty to thank him for what he has done, to convey to him the Church’s blessings and pray for his long and peaceful life and prosperous reign.


Holy Father and Brothers, your coming to this Conference has inaugurated a new era for our Churches. As you well know, the ancient Orthodox Churches had maintained their unity till the fifth century, when they underwent an unfortunate division which continues to this day. We hop and pray that God will bring together again the two traditions which thus came to be formed. Our own Oriental Orthodox Churches, however, have always stood together as branches of the same Church. At the same time historical and various other factors did not leave us free to convene common synods and Councils of all our Churches for the last many centuries. Consequently our Churches were isolated one from another, so that while being one Church in principle, we have come to be considered as many Churches.


It is against such a background that we have met in this Conference. With a view to restoring healthy and fruitful channels of communication and co-operation, we have taken here a number of important decisions. We have agreed thus, insofar as possible, we shall work together in the fields of evangelism, theological education, ecumenical action and world peace. As a result of which we shall all experience, we hope a concrete manifestation of the unity in spirit which exists among our Churches.


Even here the first thing which e need to face is the question of the nature of our calling in the one Church. We are called to bear witness to Jesus Christ, the incarnate crucified and risen Lord, and to serve our fellow human beings in His name and His spirit. So our Churches should become communities filled with spiritual dynamism to fulfil the task entrusted to us by the Lord of the Church. Here our ideal is that specified by our Lord Himself when He said, “Be ye perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect”. As we follow this great ideal, we shall experience the meaning of the heavenly peace which our Lord Jesus Christ has promised us by His words, “My peace I give unto you.” Our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His High-Priestly prayer besought that His disciples may ever remain united, will bless and sanctify our life and work together.


Besides the question of bringing our Church together again we have taken time at this Conference to discuss our future relationship with other Churches, and agreed to do all we can to help the movement towards the unity of all Christians in the fellowship of the Church. We believe that of the many bodies into which Christendom is divided, the one nearest in spiritual Kinship to our Churches is the Eastern Orthodox Church. We trust in God that He will lead both our Churches to feel urged to evaluate the positions of each other objectively in a spirit of Christian charity and mutual appreciation, so that they may, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, be restored to unity.


In giving expression to this longing, we do not imply that our concern for Christian reunion is limited to the East.

We believe that there is only one ideal for Christian reunion, and that is what our Lord has clearly specified in His Prayer. He prayed that His disciples may remain eternally united in the same way as God the Father and He Himself are one and remain united. In our thinking. Christian reunion has behind it no ulterior motive of securing earthly glory or temporal power for the Church, or even of meeting some immediate danger. WE seek reunion because our unity is the will of our Lord. He wants our Christian communities to grow with Him into His perfection. This indeed will require a broadening of our spiritual vision to see all things as Christ sees them. Our search for unity is not a partial search. We believe that God wants all men to be united with Him. From this concern we express our longing to see that peace and harmony are established in the world, and pledge that we shall work unceasingly for the peace of the world and the establishment of justice between man and man nation and nation.


May God lead all Churches in the world to realize this truth, and may the beginning of a new era for our Churches, which this Conference has initiated, help us to advance together in doing His work.


Holy Fathers and Brothers, our Conference is come to its close. To all of you, I express once again our sincere thanks. May God be with you in your journey back to your respective Churches, and may He bring us together again. We shall remember you constantly in our prayers, and may we request that you do the same for us also. Visit us whenever you can, and do keep us in touch with how you and your Churches are faring. May the blessing of Holiest Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon us all and our Churches, His Imperial Majesty, and the royal family, Amen.


His Holiness Vasken I, the Supreme Catholicos of Etchmidzin 

Armenian Orthodox Church

(Although this was a Conference of the Heads of five Churches, the Heads and delegates of the Armenian Orthodox Church expressed their inability to participate in it fully, because of certain internal difficulties of administration which they were facing between the Supreme Catholicos of Etchmidzin and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cecilia. So at the closed sessions of the Conference the Armenian Orthodox church was represented only by observers, and neither of the Catholicos of the Armenian Orthodox Church signed the decisions at the conclusion of the conference.)

His Holiness Khoren I,Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia

Armenian Orthodox Church

(His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, has subsequently signified his willingness to be considered a full participant of the Conference.)

Copied from;
The Oriental Orthodox Churches
Addis Ababa Conference January, 1965
Edited by the Interim Secretariat
Oriental Orthodox Conference
Addis Ababa - August, 1965