Antelias: The funeral of His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Patraiarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, who died a few days ago, will be held today, August 23 at St. Trinity Cathedral in Addis Abeba, in the presence of church leaders, foreign dignitaries and government officials. His Eminence Arch. Gomidas Ohanian will represent His Holiness Catholicos Aram I and the Holy See of Cilicia at the funeral.

Hereunder the text of the letter of condolences of His Holiness Aram I:

To the Holy Synod of the sister Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Addis Abeba


It is with profound sorrow that we have learned of the passing away of His Holiness Abuna Paulos, the Patriarch of the sister Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Even before our election as heads of our respective Churches, His Holiness Abuna Paulos and I had a close collaborative relationship.

His Holiness opened a new page in the modern history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: he constructed new churches and formed a new generation of clergy; he instituted a number of church-related projects in the area of develop­ment; he promoted the churches' social diakonia and reactivated its evangelical mission and pastoral outreach; he gave a new impetus to the ecumenical en­gagement of the church and strengthened inter-Oriental Orthodox unity.

Within the context of our inter-Oriental Orthodox relations, His Holiness wished to organize a second meeting of the heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in Addis Abeba, in consultation with the leaderships of our family. We personally supported this initiative. We also organized a meeting between His Holiness Abuna Paulos and His Holiness Shenouda III, the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, after a period of stagnated relations be­tween the two sister churches. Furthermore, we encouraged His Holiness to take more active part in the ecumenical movement.

Our close collaboration led us to meet frequently in Addis Abeba and in the headquarters of the Armenian Church's Holy See of Cilicia, in Antelias, Lebanon. The goal of His Holiness was to reinvigorate the evangelical mission and ecu­menical witness of his church and re-affirm its role in a new world context.

The late Patriarch Abuna Paulos became a strong voice of Africa in Christendom, defending the rights of the African people, exposing their concerns and expectations, and advocating for the unity of this great continent.

The passing away of His Holiness is, therefore, a great loss for his Church, for the Oriental Orthodox family, the ecumenical movement and Africa.

On this sad occasion, We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the Holy Synod of the sister Ethiopian Orthodox Church, to the faithful, to the gov­ernment and to the people of Ethiopia.

We pray to the Almighty God to accept the soul of His Holiness Abuna Paulos in His heavenly kingdom. May God bless you all.




21 August 2012

Antelias, Lebanon

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