20130228

Abune Mathias elected as the new patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOTC)

The newly elected patriarch Abune Mathias
Photo courtesy of The Sheba Post


Addis Ababa, 28 February 2013: Archbishop His Eminence Abune Mathias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Jerusalem is elected the sixth Patriarch of the Church on Thursday, 28 February 2013, in Addis Ababa.

According to official results, Archbishop Abune Mathias received 500 out of 806 votes. Whereas, the other four candidates Abune Yoseph, Abune Mathewos, Abune Hiskiel and Abune Elsa got 98, 98, 70 and 39 votes, respectively. One ballot paper was disqualified. A total of 806 voters, including Archbishops, department heads of the patriarchate office, ancient monasteries and churches, clergy, representative’s of Church members and Sunday school students voted for the election of the new Patriarch. Delegations from Oriental Orthodox Churches, the World Council of Churches, the elderly, among others, observed the election.

Abune Matias, currently serving as Archbishop of the church in Jerusalem, accepted the appointment. Abune Matthias, 71, has lived abroad for over 30 years, initially fleeing Ethiopia following a military coup by Mengistu Hailemariam in 1974. He has since travelled throughout Europe and North America, and will now settle in Ethiopia to serve as the patriarch of the Church. His Eminence is an ethnic Tigrean.

The enthronement of Abune Mathias as the sixth Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church would be held on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, which tens of thousands of people are expected to attend. A high level Indian Church delegation will attend the consecration ceremony of the newly elected Patriarch of Ethiopia. The Catholicos of the East and the Patriarch of India, His Holiness Baselius Paulose II – the Supreme Pontiff of the Indian Orthodox Church of the East - will have personal audience with the new Patriarch tomorrow.

Abune Mathias will be known as 6th Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot and Archbishop of Axum. Ethiopian Church heads are referred to as Abune, which means “father” in Ethiopia’s local language.

The Ethiopian Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa, Cyril VI. About 63 percent of Ethiopia’s 83 million people are Christian, with the majority following the Orthodox faith, according to official figures. The Ethiopian Church has a membership of between 40 and 45 million, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia, and is thus the largest of all Oriental Orthodox churches.
Patriarch-elect Abune
Mathias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Photo courtesy of Boaz Rottem

The office of the patriarch has been vacant since August after His Holiness Abune Paulos died at age 76. His Holiness had served as head of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia since 1992.

Ethiopia is home to some of Africa‘s oldest Orthodox churches, including a cluster of 11 ancient rock-hewn churches in Lalibela which are designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Patriarch Catholicoi of All Ethiopia, since 1959

  1. His Holiness Abune Basilios (1959–1970)
  2. His Holiness Abune Theophilos (1971–1976), executed in 1979
  3. His Holiness Abune Takla Haymanot (1976–1988)
  4. His Holiness Abune Merkorios (1988–1991), Abuna until the EPRDF's triumph over the Derg in Addis Ababa;(Abdicated, and lives in the United States with his followers claiming that he was forced to leave)
  5. His Holiness Abune Paulos (1991–2012)
caretaker patriarch His Eminence Abune Nathanaël, archbishop of Arsi, as caretaker patriarch (2012-2013)

Photo: 

Abune Mathias is elected as the 6th patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church


Addis Ababa, 28 February 2013: His Eminence Abune Mathias, Archbishop of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) in Jerusalem, is elected as the 6th patriarch of the Church. Abune Mathias won 500 of the 806 votes. The enthronement will be held on 3rd March at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa.


Photo: Misawa ZeRaguel

800 EOC followers register to vote for 6th Patriarch

Addis Ababa, 27 February, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) said so far 800 followers of the Church have got registered to cast votes for the 6th Patriarch of the Church. It said the stated number of archbishops, department heads of the patriarchate office, ancient monasteries and churches, clergy, followers of the EOC and Sunday school students, among others, are registered to vote for the new patriarch. The election will be held on 28 February 2013 and the result will be made official same day in the evening. So far the election process is peaceful and fair, the Church said. The Church had earlier set a timetable to elect the 6th Patriarch.
Ethiopian News Agency (ENA)


20130227

Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarchal election tomorrowive finalists in election for new Patriarch

Patriarchate Electoral Committee Head and Jimma Diocese
 Archbishop Abune Estifanos announces 5 candidates for
the 6th Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch

ADDIS ABABA, Feb 27, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarchate Electoral Committee had announced the 6th Patriarchal election candidates as Archbishop Abune Mattias of Jerusalem, Archbishop Abune Elsa of North Gondar, Abune Hizkias, Archbishop of Kaffa, Sheka, Bench and Maji, and General Secretary of the Holy Synod, Abune Mattewos of Wolaita and Dowaro and Abune Yosef of Bale.

The 6th Patriarchal election would be conducted February 28, 2013 and the result will be announced same day in the evening. 800 voters who participate in the election would be drawn from archbishops, clergy, representatives of ancient monasteries and 53 dioceses.

The enthronement of the Patriarch elect would be held March 3, 2013 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Source: Indian Orthodox Herald

Ethiomonarchist (Monarchy Forum) writes:
February 26, 2013
08:04 AM
The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has decided that it will not drop two names from the list of five candidates, and that all five names will be submitted to the electors on Thursday. The person with the highest number of votes on Thursday will emerge as the sixth Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Delegations from sister churches have begun to arrive in Addis Ababa to observe the election and to participate in the enthronement on Sunday.

February 27, 2013
08:04 AM
Tomorrow, February 28th, in the Hall of the Gospels, at the Patriarchal Palace in Addis Ababa, the electors will assemble at 7 AM. His Eminence Archbishop Abune Natnael, Locum Tenens and Acting Patriarch will lead the electors in reciting the Magnificat to open the session. Following the prayer, members of the electoral committee will then give a short explanation of the procedures for the last time. Then Abune Natnael Locum Tenens of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and two other of the most senior Archbishops (by date of elevation to the episcopacy) will stand together on the dias holding up three processional crosses and administer the electors oath. The electors will in unison say:
"As I present myself to elect a Patriarch, I pledge to root out from my conscience, all scheming, hatred, jealousy, greed and envy. I will distance myself from ties of blood or friendship, and without any favoritism or private desire, with thoughtfulness and carefullness, will elect only that father who I believe will be the spiritual shepherd and loyal servant of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. I swear this before the Holy Trinity, in the name of the All Knowing and all Powerful God. If I fail to carry out this which I have sworn to, in this world or the next, on the day of the final judgement, I will answer for it before God."
The electors will then proceed to vote for the 6th Patriarch.

Some blogs are reporting that Abune Matewos, Archbishop of Wolaita and Dowaro, has removed himself from candidacy and has secluded himself in his rooms in the Patriarchal complex. It is unclear if this means the electoral committee will remove his name from the ballot. Other reports deny that His Eminence has done any such thing. With all the public posturing of various camps and interest groups, I completely understand why the Roman Catholic Church locks it's Cardinals into the Sistine Chapel and seals the doors, cutting them off from all contact with the outside until they emerge with a new Pope.

Ethiopian Christians are holding their breath.  Ethiomonarchist

Source: Monarchy Forum Theodore's Royalty and Monarchy Site

20130225

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II


118th Pope of Alexandria and Patrarch of the See of St. Mark

Biography
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was born Wagih Sobhy Baky Soliman on November 4th, 1952 in Mansoura. His father was an irrigation engineer and his family moved around during his childhood from Mansoura to Sohag and then to Damanhour.

He received his bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 1975 from Alexandria University and earned a fellowship for the World Health Organization from the British International Health Institute in England in 1985. He attended the Coptic Seminary and graduated in 1983. He then worked as a manager in a pharmaceutical company in Damanhour that was owned by the Ministry of Health.

His Holiness's life has always revolved around church since his youth; he wished to live the life of monasticism. He entered the Monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi Elnatroun on August 20th, 1986 and remained a brother for two years. He was ordained a monk on July 31, 1988 and after a year he was ordained a priest on December 23, 1989. Two months after, H.H. Pope Tawadros started serving with H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira on February 15th, 1990. He was ordained a bishop on June 15th, 1997 by H.H. the Late Pope Shenouda III as a General Bishop assisting H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius. His Holiness focused on childhood whether it was in the country-wide children's festival as well when he was in charge of the children's committee in the Holy Synod. Before assuming the papacy, H.H. wrote twelve books.

His Holiness was enthroned as the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Pope of the See of St. Mark on November 19th, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Reweiss in Abbassiya, Cairo. The enthronement was presided by H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira, other metropolitans and bishops of the Coptic church and was attended by many delegates of Christian Churches.

20130224

A Council for Egypt’s Churches


CAIRO, 19 Feb '13: On Monday 18th of February 2013, Egypt churches' council has been consecrated headed by HH Pope Tawadros in an important step towards the unity of churches in Egypt.

The 5 Churches in Egypt with their leaders have gathered in unity in ecumenical work and service under the Egyptian Council of Churches. This initiative had started 3 years ago by HH Late Pope Shenouda and came to reality under HH Pope Tawadros. This indeed is a great blessed step according to God's Will and Purpose.



CAIRO, 23 Feb 2013: Pope Tawadros II has confirmed that the newly-formed Council for Egypt’s Churches has nothing to do with politics, and is primarily concerned with the unity of the Churches, their activities and services

Pope Tawadros II has confirmed that the newly-formed Council for Egypt’s Churches has nothing to do with politics, and is primarily concerned with the unity of the Churches, their activities and services.

The council, which has been formed of the Coptic Orthodox, Coptic Catholic, Evangelical, Episcopal and Greek Orthodox Churches of Egypt, held its first meeting on 18 February at St Mark Cathedral in Abassiya, Cairo. Representing the Churches are Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Chruch, Anba Ibrahim Ishaq of the Coptic Catholic Church, Rev. Dr Safwat al-Bayadi of the Evangelical Church, Pope Theodorus II of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Bishop Mounir Hanna of the Episcopal Church.
The heads of the Churches, stressed that the council aims at enhancing the service of the Churches in Egypt and has nothing to do with politics. It is assigned with coordinating between Egypt's Churches, promoting unity between the followers of the Christian faith in Egypt and promoting Muslim-Christian dialogue. The five Churches agreed that the presidency of the council will rotate among them, and that Father Bishoi Hilmy of Anba Antonious Orthodox Church in Shubra, Cairo is the secretary of the council.

The joint statement issued by the council upon its foundation read: “It has been a life-long dream to establish a council for the Churches in Egypt to achieve mutual love and cooperation between them, to support Christian work and to serve the homeland. The council has thus been formed to serve the Church and the homeland, but has nothing to do with politics. The new council will cooperate with all recognised Church councils, such as the World Council of Churches, the Middle East Council of Churches and All Africa Conference of Churches”.

It was Pope Shenouda III who initiated the idea in April 2010, which was very well-received by the other Churches in Egypt. In 2012 he announced the project in his Wednesday weekly meeting with the congregation at St Mark’s in Cairo.
Father Rafiq Greiche of St Cyril Church for Greek Catholic and head of the media office of the Catholic Church in Egypt said that the Churches signed the council's protocol at St Mark’s after reading several relevant chapters from the Holy Bible.

In the word he gave in the council’s first meeting, Pope Tawadros II said: “We meet today to express our mutual love, service and support. Love is what gathered us today, with hope that it should translate into cooperation and service.”
Dr Bayadi said the council was to testify for God and the Church before the community. “We have been holding regular prayers for 30 years for the unity of the Church. God has today answered our prayers.”
Pope Ishaq Ibrahim said that the meeting was the fruit of working to know one another better. “Today, we are restoring the crack in the One Body of Christ’s Church,” said Bishop Nicholas of the Greek Orthodox Church. And for his part, Bishop Mounir Hannadescribed the meeting as an act of ‘healing’ of the Lord's Church. According to Hanna, every Church participates in the Christian heritage in its own way. “The Council of Egyptian Churches will enhance Christian-Christian dialogue and bring forth the fruits of unity and love.”
Michael Victor - Mariam Rifaat - Margaret Adel
Watani International

Patriarchal candidates of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church

Ethiomonarchist (Monarchy Forum) writes:
February 22, 2013
The Patriarchal Electoral Committee of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has announced the names of five candidates for the Patriarchal throne. The announcement has caused considerable surprise. All five are Archbishops, and the candidates that were most expected are not included. They are;
H E Abune Mattias Photo:dejeselam.org

  1. His Eminence, Archbishop Abune Mattias of Jerusalem
  2. His Eminence Archbishop Abune Elsa of North Gondar
  3. His Eminence Abune Hizkias, Archbishop of Kaffa, Sheka, Bench and Maji, and General Secretary of the Holy Synod
  4. His Eminence Abune Mattewos of Wolaita and Dowaro
  5. His Eminence Abune Yosef of Bale

In the coming days the five names will be reduced to three, and then on February 28, 800 deligates including the entire Holy Synod, and representatives of all the monasteries, the administrators of the major churches and cathedrals, the theological college, the seminaries, the sunday schools and lay organizations will elect the 6th Patriarch of the church in succession to his Late Holiness Abune Paulos.

H E Abune Elsa  Photo:dejeselam.org
The above patriarchal candidate choices are very interesting. Also interesting are the names that are not on the list. Of the over 9000 nominations sent in to the electoral committee, over 7000 are believed to have nominated Abune Samuel, the former Archbishop of Addis Ababa, and currently head of the Development and Relief Administration of the Church. Abune Samuel was widely seen as highly favored by the EPRDF government and their seems to have been a concerted effort on the part of the authorities to get him elected. He is an ethnic Tigrean (same ethnic group as the elite of the regime) and was seen as very pro-government. His rejection by the committee sends a rather strong message. Also rejected was Abune Gabriel, Archbishop of Awasa, who was prominent at the funeral of the late Prime Minister and seen to be actively courting the authorities. Abune Mattias of Jerusalem is now seem as the Patriarchal front runner, which is a huge irony as there was a campaign against his candidacy by government figures in spite of the fact that he is also a Tigrean. It was put out that His Eminence was too monarchist having been close to the Imperial family during their exile, and having remained close to them. He is now considered a hands down favorite. None of the candidates have particularly close ties to the government.
 08:25 AM
H E Abune Hizkias Photo:dejeselam.org
xxxxxxx

The government press announced the candidates indicating that the regime will go along with the synod's decision. It seems that the ruling party has decided to quietly endorse the Tigrean candidate even though it has been calling him "too monarchist" for a while now. Abune Hizkias is an Amhara of Wollo, Abune Matewos an Amhara of Shewa, and Abune Elsae is an Amhara of Gondar. Abune Yosef is an Oromo. It is virtually assured that the government will not allow an Amhara, particularly of traditional power centers like Gondar and Shewa on the Patriarchal throne. It seems assured that it will be Abune Mattias.

H E Abune Mattewos Photo:dejeselam.org
Abune Mattias assisted the late Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot at my ordination as a boy deacon years ago. He was one of 14 bishops appointed following the imprisonment of Patriarch Abune Theophilos and the enthronement of Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot. After serving for a few years in Jerusalem, he issued a denounciation of communism and the blood drenched rule of the Derg and became the first Ethiopian archbishop to go into exile. He became a staple on the Voice of America's Amharic service and on the BBC issuing anathemas against the Derg and those who cooperated with them. a He is a man of stately presence, although not without some detractors dating from the hight of ethnic disputes between members of the exile community in Washington D.C. in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Derg when he sided with the predominantly Tigrean side in the splits in the community. However he maintained his warm relations with the Imperial family throughout. Patriarch Abune Paulos appointed him Archbishop of the United States, and in this capacity he was instrumental in beginning the efforts towards reconciliation with the exile synod. He was later returned to his old archdiocese of Jerusalem where he serves presently.
09:45 AM
xxxxxxx

Several church focused independent websites are reporting that the government has abandoned it's earlier support of Abune Samuel's failed candidacy, and have now turned to aggressively promoting Abune Mattias. Abune Samuel is now regarded by the ruling party as too strongly in favor of the supremacy of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia over other faiths, and by the electors as too eagerly and obviously campaigning for the patriarchate. Thus his bid has now failed even though he received more nominations than anyone else.
H E Abune Yosef Photo:dejeselam.org

Abune Hizkias is being championed by those who believe that it is the turn of someone form Wollo to sit on the Patriarchal throne. The first Patriarch after autocephalous status was gained, Patriarch Abune Basilios, was from Shewa. The second, Abune Theophilos, was from Gojjam. The third, Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot, and the fourth, Patriarch Abune Merkorios, were both of from Gondar although Abune Tekle Haimanot identified with Wollaita more as it was there he spent most of his years as a hermit monk. The fifth, Patriarch Abune Paulos, was a Tigrean. The only region of Ethiopia's traditional Christian heartland not to have had a turn on the Patirarchal throne is thus Wollo.

It is also being reported that Abune Elsa and Abune Mattewos are both demanding that their names be withdrawn from the list. Abune Elsa had previously been put forward as a Patriarchal candidate in 1992 when the winner was Abune Paulos.
 10:37 PM

Monarchy Forum
Theodore's Royalty and Monarchy Site

6th Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch Election candidates announced


Addis Ababa, Saturday, February 23, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Patriarchate Head Office Electoral Committee announced the 6th Patriarchal election candidates.
1. His Eminence, Archbishop Abune Mattias of Jerusalem
2. His Eminence Archbishop Abune Elsa of North Gondar
3. His Eminence Abune Hizkias, Archbishop of Kaffa, Sheka, Bench and Maji, and General Secretary of the Holy Synod
4. His Eminence Abune Mattewos of Wolaita and Dowaro
5. His Eminence Abune Yosef of Bale
The 6th Patriarchal election would be conducted February 28, 2013. The enthronement would be held March 3, 2013 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. 800 voters who participate in the election would be drawn from archbishops, representatives of ancient monasteries and 53 dioceses as well as the faithful, Sunday schools and the clergy.
Source: ethioabay.com / shebapost.com


Five Candidates proposed for the Successor to the Patriarchal Throne in Ethiopia
The Patriarchal Electoral Committee of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has declared the names of five candidates for the Patriarchal throne. They are as follows:

1) HE Archbishop Abune Mattias of Jerusalem
2) HE Archbishop Abune Elsa of North Gondar
3) HE Abune Hizkias, Archbishop of Kaffa, Sheka, Bench and Maji, and General Secretary of the Holy Synod
4) HE Abune Mattewos of Wolaita and Dowaro
5) HE Abune Yosef of Bale

These five front runners will be reduced to three Candidates, and then on Feb 28, eight hundred delegates including the entire Holy Synod, and representatives of all the monasteries, the administrators of the major churches and cathedrals, theological college, seminaries, Sunday schools and lay organizations will elect the 6th Patriarch of the church in succession to his Late Holiness Abune Paulos.
Source: Deje Selam / facebook


video Ethiopian Orthodox Church announces 5 candidates for the 6th Patriarch -ETV News February 25, 2013





20130220

HIS HOLINESS ARAM I CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT SERGE SARKISSIAN UPON HIS RE-ELECTION

ANTELIAS: 19 February 2013, in a letter addressed to President Serge Sarkissian, His Holiness Aram I congratulated him on his re-election for a second term.

In his letter, His Holiness assured the President of the support of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in his endeavours to strengthen Armenia, reinforce Armenian-Diaspora relations and defend the just cause and legitimate rights of Armenians.

20130217

His Holiness Aram I visits Patriarch Zakka I

Antelias, 16 February 2013: On 16 February 2013, His Holiness Aram I visited the ailing Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, who is currently staying at the Atchane monastery in Lebanon.
The Catholicos was accompanied by his assistant, Rev. Mesrob Sarkissian, and the ecumenical officer, Archbishop Nareg Alemezian. After a brief private session, four bishops from the monastery joined for a meeting to discuss relations between the two sister churches and with the churches in the Oriental Orthodox family.


Voter patriarch candidate nomination concludes


Written by MENYAHEL TESHOME
Addis Ababa, February 16, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Patriarch Electoral Committee announced that voters nomination for the 6th Ethiopian patriarch candidates concluded yesterday.
Committee head Jimma Diocese Archbishop His Grace Abune Estifanos told journalists yesterday that following the official message provided for voters to nominate their candidates until February 15, 2013, most voters: archbishops, representatives of ancient monasteries, dioceses, the faithful, Sunday Schools and the clergy have nominated their candidates in a secret ballot. Abune Estifanos further indicated that having the appointed candidates from the voters,the committee will present the final candidates to the Holy Synod.
“Our responsibility will be presenting those candidates after thorough discussion. The Synod will make the final decision. According to the schedule, starting from today ,we will continue our discussion until February 21 to present the candidates,” said His Grace Abune Estifanos.
The election would be conducted in the presence of delegations from Oriental Churches, the World Council of Churches, the All-African Council of Churches, the elderly and government representatives as observer.

Source: Ethiopian Press Agency/ The Ethiopian Herald February 16 2013 05:48:50 GMT


20130216

Nomination for the 6th Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch completed

Addis Ababa,February 15, 2013: Nomination for the 6th Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch completed.
(More at: ETV News -)

6th Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch Election Set for Feburary 28


Addis Ababa,Thursday, February 7, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Patriarchate Head Office Electoral Committee announced that the 6th Patriarchal election would be conducted February 28, 2013.
The Committee Head and Jimma Diocese Archbishop Abune Estifanos said that among all potential candidates, only five would be selected to run for the 6th Patriarchal election. Abune Estifanos added that the winner would be made official at 6 pm the same day.

The enthronement would be held March 3, 2013 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Abune Estifanos further indicated that the 800 voters who participate in the election would be drawn from archbishops, representatives of ancient monasteries and 53 dioceses as well as the faithful, Sunday schools and the clergy.
Delegations from Oriental Orthodox Churches, the World Council of Churches, the elderly, among others, would observe the election.

Source: Ethioabay.com


INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION FOR THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES


REPORT

Tenth Meeting

Rome, January 23 to 27, 2013


The tenth meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches took place in Rome from January 23 to 27, 2013, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It was chaired jointly by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette.

Joining delegates from the Catholic Church were representatives of the following Oriental Orthodox Churches: the Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of All Armenians), the Armenian Apostolic Church (Holy See of Cilicia), the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. No representative of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church was able to attend.

The two delegations met separately on the morning of January 23. The Joint Commission held plenary sessions on January 23, 24, 25 and 26, each of which began with a brief prayer service using material prepared for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

At the beginning of the first session, Cardinal Koch noted with sadness that the heads of two of the Oriental Orthodox Churches had passed away since the last meeting: His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and His Holiness Abuna Paulos I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church who had hosted the 2012 meeting of the dialogue. The members observed a moment of silent prayer for the repose of the two patriarchs, and also for Bishop Mikhael Al-Jamil, Procurator General of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate, a member of the dialogue who died in December 2012. Prayers were also offered for the new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and for the new Coptic Catholic Patriarch, His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak. The members congratulated Most Reverend Paul Rouhana on his ordination as Maronite Bishop of Sarba in July 2012, and regretted very much that Armenian Catholic Archbishop Peter Marayati of Aleppo was not able to attend because of the dramatic situation in his city.

At this tenth meeting, the members continued their study of the ways in which full communion among our churches was expressed in the first five centuries. In particular, the role of mutual recognition of saints was examined. His Eminence Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios presented a paper, "Saints as an Element of Communion and Communication in the Early Church: A Biblical-Theological Perspective," and Father Mark Sheridan, OSB, read his parallel study, "The Saints as an Element in the Communion and Communication in the Early Church." The commission also considered the procedures employed by their churches to recognize new saints. Father Ronald Roberson, CSP, offered a paper entitled "The Process of Recognition/Canonization of Saints in the Catholic Church in History and Today," which was coupled with a study by His Eminence Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, "The Procedure for Introducing a Saint into the Church Directory of Feasts – Recognition/Canonization in the Armenian Apostolic Church." Briefer summaries of the canonization/recognition procedures in their own churches were offered by Metropolitan Bishoy (Coptic Orthodox Church), His Eminence Metropolitan Theophilus George Saliba (Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch), Father Daniel Seifemichael Feleke (Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church), His Eminence Metropolitan Youhanon Mar Demetrios (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church), and His Eminence Metropolitan Theophilose Kuriakose (Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church). Based on these studies, the members noted that the mutual recognition of saints – which in the first five centuries was largely a local phenomenon – was a constitutive element in the expression of full communion at that time.

On September 13 and 14, 2012, a drafting committee met in Rome and produced an initial draft document entitled, "The Exercise of Communion in the Life of the Early Church and its Implications for our Search for Communion Today." The bulk of the commission’s time at this tenth meeting was spent carefully examining this draft text, to which a section on the mutual recognition of saints will also be added. The comments and observations of the members were noted by the drafting committee and will be taken into account as it prepares a more ample text for consideration at the next meeting.

On January 25, the Commission was received in audience by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Metropolitan Bishoy extended greetings to the Holy Father on behalf of the members of the commission. He thanked him for the condolences he expressed upon the recent deaths of the Coptic and Ethiopian patriarchs, and for his congratulatory message to Pope Tawardos II. He also presented him with a hand painted icon of the Blessed Virgin Saint Mary the Mother of God as a gift.

Pope Benedict then addressed the Commission in these words: "It is with joy in the Lord that I welcome you, the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Through you I extend fraternal greetings to the heads of all the Oriental Orthodox Churches. In a particular way I greet His Eminence Anba Bishoy, Co-President of the Commission, and I thank him for his kind words. Before all else I would like to recall with appreciation the memory of His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, who died recently. I also remember with gratitude His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, who last year hosted the Ninth Meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was saddened, too, to learn of the death of the Most Reverend Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil, Titular Archbishop of Takrit and Procurator of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate in Rome and a member of your Commission. I join you in prayer for the eternal rest of these dedicated servants of the Lord. Our meeting today affords us an opportunity to reflect together with gratitude on the work of the International Joint Commission, which began ten years ago, in January 2003, as an initiative of the ecclesial authorities of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In the past decade the Commission has examined from an historical perspective the various ways in which the Churches expressed their communion in the early centuries. During this week devoted to prayer for the unity of all Christ’s followers, you have met to explore more fully the communion and communication which existed between the Churches in the first five centuries of Christian history. In acknowledging the progress which has been made, I express my hope that relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches will continue to develop in a fraternal spirit of cooperation, particularly through the growth of a theological dialogue capable of helping all the Lord’s followers to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel. Many of you come from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God’s plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord’s will. May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints who down the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us. Upon you, and upon all those associated with the work of the Commission, I cordially invoke a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace. Thank you for your attention."

Later on the same day, the members attended the Vespers Service presided over by Pope Benedict XVI in the Basilica of Saint Paul the Apostle Outside the Walls for the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Cardinal Koch hosted a meal at the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican on Thursday evening, January 24 for the members of the dialogue commission and the staff of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, also attended the dinner.

The eleventh meeting of the International Joint Commission will take place in Kerala, India, hosted by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The members will plan to arrive on Monday, January 27, 2014. Separate family meetings will take place on January 28, followed by plenary sessions on January 29, 30, 31, and February 1.

The members concluded with joyful thanks to God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for what has been accomplished at this meeting.

* * *

The members of the Commission are:

Representatives of the Oriental Orthodox Churches (in alphabetical order)

Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church: H.E. Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Beirut, Lebanon; H.E. Kuriakose Theophilose, Metropolitan of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary and President of the Ecumenical Secretariat of the Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church in India, Ernakulam, India;

Armenian Apostolic Church: Catholicosate of all Armenians: H.E. Khajag Barsamian, Archbishop of the Eastern Diocese of the USA, New York (unable to attend, represented by Reverend Father Shahe Ananyan, Etchmiadzin, Armenia); H.E. Archbishop Yeznik Petrossian, General Secretary of Bible Society of Armenia, Etchmiadzin, Armenia;

Armenian Apostolic Church: Holy See of Cilicia: H.E. Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy in the USA, New York; H.E. Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, Ecumenical Officer of the Holy See of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon;

Coptic Orthodox Church: H.E. Anba Bishoy (co-chair), Metropolitan of Damiette, Egypt; Rev. Fr. Shenouda Maher Ishak, West Henrietta, New York, USA; H.G. Bishop Daniel of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Sydney, Australia (observer); Bishop Barnaba of Torino and Rome (observer);

Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church: Rev. Fr. Kaleab Gebreselassie Gebru, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Patriarchate, Asmara, Eritrea (unable to attend);

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church: Archbishop Markos of Eastern Gojjam (unable to attend); Rev. Fr. Daniel Seifemichael Feleke of Holy Trinity Theological University College in Addis Ababa;

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church: H.E. Metropolitan Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, President of the Department of Ecumenical Relations, Diocese of Trivandrum, India; H. E. Metropolitan Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios, Bishop of Delhi (co-secretary), Delhi, India.

Representatives of the Catholic Church

His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch (co-chair), President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;

Most Reverend Paul-Werner Scheele, Bishop Emeritus of Würzburg, Germany;

Most Reverend Youhanna Golta, Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate, Cairo, Egypt;

Most Reverend Archbishop Basilios Georges Casmoussa, Syrian Catholic Patriarchate, Beirut, Lebanon (observer);

Most Reverend Peter Marayati, Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria (unable to attend);

Most Reverend Woldetensae Ghebreghiorghis, Apostolic Vicar of Harar, Ethiopia, President of the Ecumenical Commission of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea;

Most Reverend Paul Rouhana, OLM, Maronite Bishop of Sarba and General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, Jounieh, Lebanon;

Rev. Fr. Frans Bouwen M.Afr., Consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Jerusalem;

Rev. Fr. Columba Stewart, OSB, Executive Director, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA;

Rev. Fr. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP, Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, USA;

Rev. Fr. Mark Sheridan, OSB, Pontificio Ateneo S. Anselmo, Rome;

Rev. Fr. Mathew Vellanickal, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Changanacherry, India;

Rev. Fr. Boghos Levon Zekiyan, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome;

Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler, Consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Salzburg, Austria.

Rev. Fr. Gabriel Quicke, Official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome (co-secretary).



Rome, January 26, 2013

20130215

Christians Squeezed Out by Violent Struggle in North Syria



By SUSANNE GÜSTEN

MIDYAT, TURKEY - The bright voices of children at play echoed off the ancient walls of Mor Hanonyo last week, breaking centuries of stillness in this 1,600-year-old Syriac Orthodox monastery outside Mardin in southeastern Turkey. Little boys skipped around the monastery courtyard zipped up in quilted winter jackets, while their elders huddled indoors and lamented the violence and mayhem that have forced them to flee their homes in Syria.

One mother told of the abduction of a neighbor’s child, held for ransom by rebel fighters in her hometown of Al-Hasakah, which prompted her family to seek safety for their three young sons across the border in Turkey. A young man demonstrated how he was hung by his arms, robbed and beaten by rebels, “just for being a Christian.”

Violence against Christians is escalating in the governorate of Al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria, which is home to tens of thousands of Syriac Christians, the refugees said.

The region, known locally as the Jazeera, encompasses the districts of Ras al-Ain, Qamishli and Malikiyah. With government forces, Arab rebels of the Free Syrian Army and Kurdish fighters locked in a three-way struggle for control, the area’s Christian population has found itself caught in the middle.

While fighting is sporadic, the region has succumbed to lawlessness, and Christians have become the target of armed rebel gangs, Father Gabriel Akyuz, the metropolitan vicar of Mardin, said in an interview in Mardin last week.

“The gangs are kidnapping people and holding them to ransom. They are perpetrating great injustices. That is why Syriacs are fleeing,” he said.

Several hundred Christian refugees have arrived in Turkey in recent weeks, with tens of thousands poised to follow if the region, currently held by the Kurdish, should fall to Arab militias, according to refugees, church officials and representatives of Syriac organizations interviewed in southeastern Turkey last week.

Bypassing Turkish refugee camps on the border, fleeing Christians have headed for the monasteries and towns of Mardin and Midyat in Turabdin, an ancient region in southeastern Turkey, less than 50 kilometers, or 30 miles, from the Syrian border that is the historical heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

“They are afraid to stay in the camps. They feel safer with their own people,” said Father Joseph, a Syriac monk looking after four families and several single refugees in Mor Hanonyo (Deyr Ul-Zafarn).

“We are fleeing from the rebels, and the camps are full of rebels,” said the mother of the three little boys, a schoolteacher who did not want to be named for fear of rebel reprisals against relatives at home.

Many of the Christian refugees are young men who have fled conscription in the army and now fear being drafted into rebel ranks if they enter the Turkish camps, Evgil Turker, the president of the Federation of Syriac Associations in Turkey, said in an interview.

Al Nusra Front “and other rebel groups are entrenched in the refugee camps,” Mr. Turker said. “They round up young men in the camps, sometimes 20 or 30 a day, and send them through the border fence back into Syria.”

Mr. Turker’s organization has retrieved dozens of Syriacs from the camps, where some of them are sent by Turkish security forces when caught crossing into Turkey illegally. “We vouch for them and they are released to us on our recognizance,” Mr. Turker said.

The Syriac community of Turkey, itself greatly diminished by persecution and emigration over the last century, has rallied to come to the aid of fleeing kin and coreligionists from Syria. Besides rescuing refugees from the camps, the Syriac community shelters them in monasteries and in dozens of church properties and privately owned vacant houses in Turabdin. Donations from local Syriacs and from the large Syriac diaspora in Europe keep the refugees fed and clothed.

“We can handle it so far,” said Ayhan Gurkan, deacon of the Mor Barsomo church in Midyat and vice president of the Syriac Culture Association, who runs aid distribution in Midyat. “But God help us if the insurgents take the Jazeera from the Kurds. Then we will be overwhelmed.”

That is an imminent danger, according to refugees sheltering in the Mor Hobil-Mor Abrohom monastery outside of Midyat. While the Kurds remained in control of the Jazeera, most Syriacs would stay put, said one young man, who gave his name only as Gabriel. But if the region should fall to Islamist Arab rebels, “then not any Christian people will stay there,” he said.

Yusuf Turker, the administrator of the monastery, said Syriacs on both sides of the border were anxiously following the struggle between Kurds and Arab militias over the region.

“If Ras al-Ain falls and the militias overrun the region, God forbid, then 40,000 or 50,000 Christians will come over the border in one rush,” he said.

To prepare for such a contingency, Turkish Syriacs have solicited and obtained the support of the Turkish authorities, said Evgil Turker of the Federation of Syriac Associations. In addition to allowing Syriac refugees to be privately sheltered outside the camps and providing aid for their support, the prime minister’s office in Ankara had pledged to establish a separate refugee camp for Syriacs if necessary, he added.

Some Turkish officials confirmed this. Syriac Christians fleeing Syria had asked for help from the Turkish authorities “and we will be happy to help them,” a high-ranking Turkish official, who commented on condition that he not be identified, wrote in an e-mail.

“Upon their request, they will be placed with or near the Turkish Syriac Christian communities in Mardin,” he said.

Another Turkish official, who also would not be named, said Turkey was prepared to build a separate camp for Christian refugees. Such a camp would include facilities to meet their “religious requirements,” he added.

Many Syriac refugees, including those interviewed in Mardin and Midyat, would prefer a European visa to a place in a Turkish refugee camp or a cell in a Turabdin monastery. “Most want to move on and leave the region,” Mr. Turker admitted. “But we won’t help them to do that.”

In fact, the Syriac federation has asked European embassies in Ankara and the U.S. Consulate in Adana not to provide the refugees with visas, but rather to help them stay in the region, Syriac activists said.

“We are strictly opposed to an exodus of Syriacs from our homeland,” said Aziz Demir, the mayor of Kafro, a Syriac village in Turabdin that was recently rebuilt and resettled by Syriacs returning from the European diaspora; he is also president of a Syriac association affiliated with the federation.

“We tell every refugee who comes that he must not emigrate to Europe or America, but hold out in Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan, because emigration means that we will lose our homeland and our roots,” Mr. Demir said.

Syriacs see the Jazeera region of Syria as their last toehold in the Middle East, Mr. Turker said. In the Turabdin region of Turkey, their number has dwindled from 200,000 a century ago to fewer than 5,000 today. Hundreds of thousands of Christians, meanwhile, have fled Iraq in the past decade.

“If we Syriacs keep on running, where will we end up?” Mr. Turker said. “It is time for us to make a stand.”

The Syriac federation hopes that it can persuade Turkey to grant citizenship to Christian refugees from Syria, enabling them to settle in Turabdin.

It says the road to naturalization in Turkey should be easy for Syriac Syrians, most of whom are descended from earlier generations of refugees from Turabdin who fled Turkish persecution and a local famine in the first half of the 20th century. They settled in what was then the French mandate of Syria, leading to the establishment of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Jazeera and Euphrates in Al-Hasakah, where it remains to this day.

“Most of the refugees’ ancestors are still on record here in Turkey, so they could be naturalized on those grounds: That is what they told us,” Mr. Turker said, referring to comments by officials at the Turkish prime minister’s office and at the governorate of Mardin Province.

In the monastery outside Midyat, a refugee named Hannibal sighed at that thought. His family, he said, had fled Midyat for Al-Hasakah in the 1940s to avoid the labor camps that non-Muslims in Turkey were sent to in lieu of military service during World War II. “Now the same thing is happening to me and my friends. I guess in 40 or 50 years we will go back to Syria.”

Hannibal, a 36-year-old pathologist who fled Syria when his life was threatened by rebels, was not smiling as he talked: “As Christians in the Middle East, we live in misery and suffer many difficulties. We want nothing more than to emigrate to other places.”

Source: New York Times Published: February 13, 2013

20130212

Pope Benedict XVI of Rome Announces Resignation

Pope Benedict XVI (Lft)
• Pope Benedict XVI to step down
• Pontiff says his age means he lacks strength to do job
• First pope to resign in 600 years

Vatican City, Feb 11, 2013: The Patriarch of Rome Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation over aging and declining health. His resignation will take place on 28th of February 2013. He is the first ever Pope to resign 600 years.

The Roman Catholic Church was in communion with the Oriental (Ancient) Orthodox Church until the schism of Chalcedon Council in A.D. 451. It is one of the seven ancient Patriarchates of the Christian world, but sadly fall out of communion from rest of the sister Ancient (Oriental) and Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates.


Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation

First pontiff to resign in almost 600 years

Vatican City, Feb 11, 2013 / 07:20 am (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI told a gathering of cardinals Feb. 11 that he no longer has the strength to carry out ministry and will resign on Feb. 28.

“I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” Pope Benedict said.

He made his remarks in Latin to a meeting of cardinals who were gathered to vote on whether or not to canonize three people.

The last pontiff to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415.

At a quickly arranged Feb. 11 press conference, Father Federico Lombardi told the media that there is no sickness the Pope is suffering from that is behind this decision.

“It’s something that happens normally in people with advanced age,” the Vatican spokesman said.

Pope Benedict observed his lack of strength “over the past few months and courageously came to this decision, ”the spokesman said.

He also stressed that Pope Benedict made the decision after carefully examining his conscience and the responsibilities of his office.

“This is an absolutely personal decision made with his conscience before God,” he remarked.

One member of the press commented on the contrast between Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II, who suffered with Parkinson’s disease until he passed away on April 2005.

Fr. Lombardi said Benedict XVI respects the decision of his predecessor and that with his suffering he offered a great testimony to the Church.

Pope Gregory XII, the last pope to resign from the Vatican, did so among a period of political turmoil in the church that rivaled the moral upheaval of the pedophile priest scandals of today.

With his announcement that he would step down on Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI, 85, became the first pontiff to leave office in nearly 600 years.

Pope Gregory XII quit in 1415 amid a civil war in the Roman Catholic Church known as the Great Western Schism.

20130211

EOC sets timetable to elect 6th Patriarch


Addis Ababa, 07 February, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) said it has set a timetable to elect the 6th Patriarch from Feb.8-March 3, 2013.
According to the timetable, a weeklong prayers will be served beginning from this Friday in connection with the election of the Patriarch.
Followers of the EOC, Sunday school students and the clergy can propose the would be Patriarch from 8-15 Feb. 2013.
Those residing in foreign countries can send name of the would be patriarch through fax numbers 011-156711 and 011-1580540.
Nearly 800 archbishops, department heads of the patriarchate office, ancient monasteries and churches, clergy, followers of the EOC and Sunday school students will vote for the new patriarch.
The election will be held on 28 February 2013 and the result will be made official same day in the evening. On the third day, the new Patriarch will be sworn in at the Holy Trinity Church here.
Ethiopian News Agency (ENA)


EOC patriarchate sets February 28 for patriarchal election
Written by Alazar Shiferaw

Addis Ababa, 08 February 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Patriarchate Head Office Electoral Committee announced yesterday that the 6th Patriarchal election would be conducted February 28,2013.

Briefing journalists at the patriarchate yesterday, the Committee Head and Jimma Diocese Archbishop Abune Estifanos said that among all potential candidates, only five would be selected to run for the 6th Patriarchal election. Abune Estifanos added that the winner would be made official at 6 pm the same day.

The enthronement would be held March 3, 2013 at the Holly Trinity Cathedral.

Abune Estifanos further indicated that the 800 voters who participate in the election would be drawn from archbishops, representatives of ancient monasteries and 53 dioceses as well as the faithful, Sunday schools and the clergy.

Delegations from Oriental Orthodox Churches, the World Council of Churches, the elderly, among others, would observe the election.

Voters cast their ballots in person to the candidate of their choice. Those residing abroad can nominate candidates by fax 011-1567711 and 011-1580540 February 8 -15, 2013.
Ethiopian Press Agency/ The Ethiopian Herald


20130210

Ethiopian Orthodox Church to elect 6th patriarch

Photo courtesy of Ethiopian News Agency (ENA)

Addis Ababa, February 08, 2013: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church announced on Thursday (Feb.7) that the election of the 6th patriarch of the Church would be held on 28 February 2013.

In line with the decision of the Holy Synod, the Church has been making preparations by establishing an electoral committee comprised of 13 members from archbishops, church workers , administrators of churches and monasteries, Sunday Schools and Mahibere Kidusan.

In a press briefing the Electoral Committee led by Archbishop Abune Estiphanos of Jimma Diocese gave on the process of the election, it said the final election would be made by 800 people comprised of archbishops, administrators of churches and monasteries, the clergy, the laity, youths from Sunday Schools and Mahibere Kidusa.

Approved church members have the opportunity to propose a candidate they want by availing themselves personally until 15 February 2013, it was noted.

The Committee also said the laity abroad can propose candidates through fax numbers 0111567711 or 0111580540.

According to the time table set, the Electoral Committee would announce the final five candidates on 25 February 2013 in the presence of the Holy Synod.

Various bodies from within and outside Ethiopia would observe the election to be held on 28 February 2013.

The new patriarch would be officially sworn in on 3 March 2013, the Committee said.


COURTESY: ETHIOPIAN RADIO AND TELEVISION AGENCY (ERTA)

Read more at:
Ethiopian News Agency (ENA)
Ethioabay.com
NAM NEWS NETWORK (NNN) Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool

Pope Tawadros II: 'Christians Are Not a Minority in Terms of Value to the Nation'


Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, during interview at the Wadi Natrun Monastery complex, northwest of Cairo, Nov. 5, 2012.

By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter
February 8, 2013
Pope Tawadros II, Egypt's Coptic leader, has issued an uncharacteristically sharp assessment of the North African country's leadership in a recent interview, asserting the important role Christianity plays in the country and addressing the newly minted constitution with which many minorities hold fault.

"We are a part of the soil of this nation and an extension of the pharaohs and their age before Christ. Yes, we are a minority in the numerical sense, but we are not a minority when it comes to value, history, interaction and love for our nation," Tawadros told the Associated Press Tuesday, Feb. 5 in an interview at the 4th century al-Muharraq monastery, located 180 miles south of Cairo in the city of Assiut.

Tawadros II is the first Coptic pope to visit this age-old monastery in three decades, as previously tensions between Islamists and Christians in the south have made it unsafe.

Egypt has recently been criticized by various groups and leaders who are concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood, the dominant political party in the nation, is taking over the government.

Part of this concern comes from the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who was sworn in as the country's first democratically elected president in June 2012, is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
One of the most contentious political issues in the country revolves around the recently approved constitution, which many argue provides unbalanced power to Muslim clerics, as well as further limits civil liberties in the country.
Pope Tawadros told AP that he believes because the constitution was created to favor Islamists "some clauses were distorted by a religious slant and that in itself is discrimination because the constitution is supposed to unite and not divide."
Additionally, in a recent interview with MBC TV, Tawadros spoke of the pain Christians in the country feel from the discrimination they have received, especially when attempting to build churches. Due to the Hamayouni edict church builds can be ruthlessly delayed, and in many cases have taken up to 20 years to complete.
"This discrimination hurts us so much, as the Church for Christians means their everyday life; because they practice, for example, their baptism, marriage and other rituals inside it," Pope Tawadros II said of the Christian struggle to build churches.

"There is no reason to not pass a law for building houses of worship," he added.

Although these recent interviews showed a more politically-oriented, and open side of the Coptic leader, Tawadros has previously highlighted the importance of hope and unity among Egypt's Christian people.
"Even if humans feel lots of fear, remember God will take care of you. This is a collective message because fear is contagious [...]This is a message of reassurance," Tawadros said in a 2012 Christmas address in an attempt to satiate the worries of Copts.

"We don't pray for the land. We pray for the humans, all humans ... starting with the president, Mohammed Morsi, and all officials, and for God to give everyone wisdom and responsibility to manage the affairs of this country and its people in true Egyptian spirit," Tawadros added.

COURTESY:
The Christian Post



20130208

His Beatitude Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

The Custody of the Holy Land officially
greets His Beatitude, Nourhan Manougian (L)
 Courtesy:The Custody

Newly-elected Jerusalem Patriarch Archbishop Nourhan Manougian (baptismal name Boghos) was born in Aleppo, Syria on 22 July 1948. He received his primary education in the Haigazian School of Aleppo.

In 1961 he entered the Theological Seminary of Antellias to start his theological education. In 1966 he entered the Jarangavortz Theological Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. On 27 July 1968 he was ordained to the diaconate.

In 1971 he was ordained a celibate priest by then Patriarch of Jerusalem Yeghishй Derderian and was given the priestly name of Nourhan. Following his ordination, he was appointed to serve as the Vice Dean of entered the Jarangavortz Theological Seminary from 1971 to 1972. In 1975 he was named as the Dean of the Seminary.

In 1972 and 1973 Father Nourhan continued his pastoral mission and served as the spiritual pastor of the Armenian faithful in Geneva, Switzerland. Father Nourhan received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) in 1973.

Following his service in Europe, Father Nourhan returned to the Middle East and from 1974 to 1980 served as the spiritual pastor of the Armenian community of Haifa, Israel.

In 1980 upon the invitation of then Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, he left for New York, New York and entered the General Theological Seminary, where he furthered his theological education. He graduated in 1983.

Remaining in the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, in 1994, he served as the spiritual pastor of the St. Gevork Church in Houston, Texas.

In 1998 he returned to Jerusalem where he served as the Grand Sacristan of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

On 14 December 1999 he was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II. He was elevated to the rank of Archbishop by the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II in 2000.

In 2009, His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, designated Archbishop Nourhan as Patriarchal Vicar. He currently serves at the Patriarchate supervising the activities of the Departments of the Patriarchate.

Manougian was elected as the 97th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem on January 24, 2013, in a close vote, edging out the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem's Locum Tenens, Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, in the final round of voting, 17-15.


New Patriarch of Jerusalem
Armenian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem Elect New Patriarch
Nourhan Manoogian Elected Jerusalem Patriarch
Archbishop Nourhan Manougian
AFP photo
wikipedia

The Custody of the Holy Land officially greets the new Armenian Patriarch-elect of Jerusalem


Tuesday, January 29, the Custody of the Holy Land, represented by its Vicar, Fra Artemio Vítores, paid a visit to the Armenian Patriarchate to congratulate His Beatitude, Nourhan Manougian ler, elected January 24, 2013, as the 97th Apostolic Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, succeeding Torkom Manougian II, who died on October 12, 2012, at the age of 93.

In speaking to Fra Artemio, the Patriarch renewed his desire that the two fraternities maintain the good relations that have united them for centuries.

In fact, throughout history and in spite of theological debates, the two communities have been able to establish fraternal bonds of understanding, making an interchange of services when the political situation of the country was precarious.

The Franciscans are particularly grateful to the Armenians, who accepted them after their expulsion from the Cenacle in 1551, protecting the friars for eight years. The Armenians, in fact, offered property to the friars within the walls of the Quarter, not far from the Convent of Monastery of the Archangels.

Recently, this hospitality was in part returned to the Armenians, when H.B. Torkom Manougian II was able to complete his long life at the Infirmary of the Convent of St. Saviour in Jerusalem; He was visited regularly by his fraternity, as well as by the friars living in the Infirmary, who surrounded him each day with their prayers.

Certainly, the custody will be present on the day of the official Enthronement of His Beatitude Nourhan Manougian. This day will provide a new opportunity for joyful sharing.

Text and photo: MAB
Courtesy:The Custody

WCC congratulates Armenian Patriarch-elect of Jerusalem


Geneva, 2013 January 31: Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, newly elected as the 97th Patriarch of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem and Superior of the Brotherhood of Saint James, has received congratulations and an affirmation of support from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Writing on behalf of the WCC, Tveit expressed confidence “that your spiritual leadership in these critical moments, which the whole region is going through, will contribute to the peace building efforts of Christian churches worldwide.”

He acknowledged the crucial role of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem as an active participant in the ecumenical life of the city, the region and the world.

Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, 65, succeeds the late Patriarch Torkom Manougian who died at age 93 in October 2012.

Read WCC general secretary’s letter to Archbishop Manougian:-

Congratulatory message for Armenian Patriarch elect of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian


Your Beatitude,

On behalf of the fellowship of the member churches of the World Council of Churches, and with gratitude to our Triune God, I congratulate you on your election to the Throne of St James as the 97th Patriarch of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem, and the Superior of the Brotherhood of Saint James.

We are confident that your spiritual leadership in these critical moments, which the whole region is going through, will contribute to the peace building efforts of the Christian Churches worldwide. We believe that the role of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem will remain strong under your guidance; and, your witness to the Lord will bring new breath to the long and honorable history of the Patriarchate and the Brotherhood.

Our long history of cooperation makes us hopeful that, under your leadership, the Armenian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem will continue its active involvement in the ecumenical life in Jerusalem, strengthening the bonds of love and unity among Christians in the land of the Holy One, and also in the life of the World Council of Churches, and the global ecumenical family.

Your Beatitude has been chosen to lead your people in the way of the Crucified and Resurrected One. May He multiply the fruits of love entrusted to you. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

In Christ our Lord,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary


Courtesy: World Council of Churches
Document

20130207

HIS HOLINESS ARAM I CONGRATULATES ARCHBISHOP NOURHAN MANOUGIAN THE NEW PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM

Antelias, Lebanon: On Thursday 24 January 2013, upon receiving the news of the election of Archbishop Nourhan as successor to the late Patriarch Torkom, Catholicos Aram I congratulated the Patriarch personally, and said, “The close relations we have enjoyed with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem should now be strengthened.” The Catholicos then added, “We should strengthen cooperation between the two Catholicosates, Etchmiadzin and Cilicia, with the two Patriarchates, Jerusalem and Constantinople. In this way, our people will also strengthen their cooperation and work together.”

His Holiness Abune Antonios I

His Holiness Abune Antonios, Third Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewhado Church

Eritrean Patriarch Antonios was born in 1927 in the town of Hembrti, to the north of Asmara in the province of Hamisien. His father was a priest and at the age of five he entered the monastery of Debre Tsege Abuna Andrewes where he was educated for the service of the church, being ordained a deacon when he was twelve. Professed a monk and ordained priest in 1942, he was elected Abbot in 1955.

When the Eritrean Orthodox Tewhado Church first sought its independence, he was one of the five abbots of monasteries to be sent to Egypt to be ordained a bishop so that the church would have its own Holy Synod. He was ordained as Bishops Antonios of Hamasien-Asmara on 19 June 1994 in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo, at the hands of His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria..

Following the death in 2003 of Abune Yacoub, second Patriarch of the Eritrean Church, he was elected Patriarch in popular elections which were unanimously endorsed by the Holy Synod. His ordination and enthronement as Patriarch took place on 23 April in Asmara, at the hands of Pope Shenouda III, assisted by Eritrean and Coptic Orthodox Metropolitans and Bishops.

Concern had been growing about government interference in religious affairs and Patriarch Antonios increasingly resisted government interference, especially instructions emanating from Mr. Yeftehe Dimetros, the government’s official responsible for church matters. In January 2005 the Patriarch’s annual Nativity message was not broadcast or televised and the Eritrean Holy Synod met on 6-7 August 2005 with the main purpose of removing all executive authority from the Patriarch. Among accusations brought against the Patriarch, were his reluctance to excommunicate 3,000 members of the Medhane Alem, an Orthodox Sunday School movement, and his demands that the government should release imprisoned Christians accused of treason. He was allowed to officiate at church services but prohibited from having any administrative rôle in church affairs.

At first the government denied the removal of the Patriarch and pointed to the fact that he was performing certain ceremonial functions but while he was under virtual house arrest at his residence in Asmara a delegation travelled to Egypt on 25 July to seek the support of Pope Shenouda, for his deposition and replacement. His Holiness refused to recognise this as a canonical act and urged the faithful to pray for Patriarch Antonios who “is passing through a great tribulation. We hope that the Lord will rescue him.”

On 13 January 2006 a secret session of the Holy Synod was held in Asmara which formally removed the Patriarch from office and his detention was tightened to ensure he remained incommunicado. On 20 January, 2007, two priests accompanied by three security agents of the government entered the Patriarch’s residence and confiscated his personal pontifical insignia.

On 27 May 2007, in violation of the church’s constitution and canons, the government installed Bishop Dioscoros of Mendefera as anti-Patriarch. The same day, in the early hours of the morning, Abune Antonios, was forcibly removed from his residence and transported to an undisclosed location. The Patriarch suffers from severe diabetes and fears have been expressed for his continued wellbeing.