HH Catholicos' Ethiopia visit – Report
Addis Ababa : His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholcios of the East, has got grand reception at Addis Ababa on March 2. The locum tenens Patriarch Abune Nathaniel, and the Ecumenical Officer Abune Garima and a few of the Ethiopian Priests had been to the Airport to receive HH Catholicos and indian orthodox delegation. His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was the only ‘head of the Church’ attending the event hence was given the status of the state guest. Three State Cars were provided with full time chauffeurs.
In the morning of Saturday 02 March the delegation had the first meeting with the Patriarch designate Abune Mathias. He appeared to be cordial and humble, and has given due respect to HH Catholicos. They both spoke at length and the meeting went to almost an hour. His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II has mentioned on the way that he has given instruction to his diocesan bishops in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi to ensure good pastoral services to the Ethiopian students, living in those cities. And HH Catholicos has further mentioned that possibilities of theological exchange programs ought to be explored. We have given a golden coloured presentable and expensive fabric of 15 Mtrs, to the Patriarch designate which could be used to stitch the liturgical vestments. The fabric was organized by Jacob Mathew (Jojo) from the Middle East. On the evening of Saturday 02 March we have organized a dinner at Sheraton Addis, with about 32 guests/ hosts attending. The following were the guests present.
Coptic Orthodox Church
1. His Eminence Metropolitan Amba Bishoy
2. His Eminence Metropolitan Amba Bakhomious
3. His Eminence Metropolitan Amba Hedra
4. His Eminence Archbishop Rafael
5. Fr. Sidrak, Coptic Representative in Addis
6. Secretary, Coptic Orthodox Church
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
7. His Eminence Metropolitan Abune Nathanael
8. His Eminence Archbishop Abune Thimothios
9. His Eminence Archbishop Abune Garima
10. Fr. Daniel S-Mikael Ecumenical Secretary to the new Patriarch
11. Fr. Solomon Tolcha, Principal Secretary to the New Patriarch
12. Mr. Tesfaye Mamo, a prospective business man
13. Fr. Fantahun Mucha, Official interpreter to the new Patriarch
14. Fr. Dimetrius Woldu, Strategic Officer
15. Dn. Temesgen Yohannes, Faculty Member, Holy Trinity, Addis
Eastern Orthodox Church
16. His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateria and Great Britain,
representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch
17. Secretary to His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios
18. His Eminence Archbishop George Panikulam, Vatican Apostolic
Nunciature, Addis Ababa, representative of the Vatican in the Consecration.
19. The Right Reverend-Elect Dr. Grant LeMarquand, Archbishop of Addis
HH Catholicos has made his speech at the Meeting, the presence of the Coptic Senior Bishops was notable. Amba Bishoy, representing them has given a speech, in which he expressed his thanks for extending our offer in hosting the Joint International Dialogue between the Catholic and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. HH Catholicos presented them signed copies of decently framed joint photographs of ‘Bava Baselios Marthoma Paulose II and Abba Tawdros II’ sitting together, which obviously they appreciated. On top of that they were given copies of Fr. Dr. Baby Varghese’s translation of the ‘Major Feasts’ and “Prayers of the Holy Week”.
At about four a.m. on Sunday 03 March the Consecration Service has commenced. HH Catholicos was made to sit adjacent to the new Patriarch. HH Catholicos of the East and Indian Bishops were vested and was asked to say Indian prayers after the crowning. They have sung together, Unmayilonnam Thrithvathin, Kshemamamodanguezhunnelluka Sakshaal etc. And for the Eucharistic Service too, H H Catholicos was standing by the Altar with the new Patriarch. In the public meeting Catholcios of the East sat alongside the Patriarch and the first speech was delivered by HH Catholcios.