Antelias: His Holiness Aram I receives the Prime Minister of Karabagh, Wednesday 20 March 2013, Antelias

His Holiness Aram I receives the Prime Minister of Karabagh, Wednesday 20 March 2013, Antelias His Holiness Aram I receives the Prime Minister of Karabagh, Wednesday 20 March 2013, Antelias

On Wednesday, 20 March 2013, His Holiness Aram I received the Prime Minister, Ara Haroutiounian, and his delegation, who were visiting Lebanon to discuss new business partnerships. The Prime Minister briefed the Catholicos Karabagh’s economic achievements and future strategies.

His Holiness Aram I honored his guests with a reception, at which they met members of the Executive Council of the Catholicosate, representatives of the three Armenian political parties and around 200 persons from the business community.

In his welcoming speech, the Catholicos informed the local business community of the measures the President and the Prime Minister are employing to strengthen the economy of Karabagh and encouraged them to help in every way possible.

The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia participates in the inauguration of the new Archbishop of Canterbury

The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia participates in the inauguration of the new Archbishop of Canterbury to right: Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Primate of the Western Prelacy of the United States to left: the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Delegates of the Catholicosate of Cilicia Present at the Enthronement of Roman Pope Francis I

Antelias: On Tuesday 19 March 2013, the delegates representing His Holiness Aram I attended the enthronement of Pope Francis I at St. Peter’s Cathedral. The delegation consisted of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Diocese of the USA, Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, Ecumenical Officer, and benefactors Alecco and Annie Bezikian. On Wednesday, the delegates met with Pope Francis I, congratulated him and transmitted the greetings of His Holiness Aram I. The Pope in return sent his greetings to His Holiness Aram I.


Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos attends the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury

London,March 21 2013:
His Grace Bishop Angaelos attends the enthronement of, and meets with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby.

On 21 March 2013, approximately 2000 guests were in attendance at Canterbury Cathedral during the enthronement service of the Most Revd Justin Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. Amongst those attending were the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Prime Minister David Cameron, and other members of parliament, with representation from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and the whole breadth of Christian Churches, denominations, and expressions.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom was also in attendance representing His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and said the following shortly after the service:

‘After having attended the enthronement service for the His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, we pray for the continued good relations between our Churches and our common witness here in the United Kingdom on so many fronts and at so many levels.

At this pivotal time during which we have witnessed the appointment of new leaders in the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and our own Coptic Orthodox Church, we pray that there is a common heart and intention for fellowship and unity, and for collaboration on valuable witness and testimony, not only for members of our own Churches but for the whole world. I echo the words of His Grace, the Archbishop, in saying that ‘there is every possible reason for optimism about the future of Christian Faith in the world, and this country.’’


Source: The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK Media and Communications Office


The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin’s Journey of Prayer

Abba Seraphim with the Most Rev’d Justin Welby (L)

16th March, 2013: In preparation for his enthronement on 21 March, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev’d Justin Welby, has been making a ‘Journey of Prayer’ around the Province of Canterbury. On the afternoon of 16 March he visited Southwark Cathedral to meet with the clergy and people of that diocese as well as representatives of other Christian communities, who would be his new ecumenical partners in his new ministry. Although Southwark Cathedral was cheerful and bustling, the emphasis on prayer in its many manifestations was apparent as was a general spirit of welcome and good-will. The Archbishop, Bishop Christopher Chessum of Southwark and his suffragans were scattered around the cathedral and all easily accessible to those who came to greet them and especially to assure the new Archbishop of their prayers. Among these were Mgr. Peter Smith, the Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, and Abba Seraphim, who both greeted him warmly. In his prayers in their presence Archbishop Justin gave thanks for the recent elections of both the Coptic and the Roman Popes. The afternoon concluded with a short evening prayer, which included two Orthodox elements: the Trisagion and the Great Litany.
British Orthodox Church



Antelias: The Armenian Church participates in the enthronement ceremony of the new Patriarch of Ethiopia, Sunday 3 March 2013 The Armenian Church participates in the enthronement ceremony of the new Patriarch of Ethiopia, Sunday 3 March 2013

On Sunday, 3 March 2013, Archbishop Avak Assadourian and Bishop Ashod Menatsakanian from the Holy See of Etchmiadzin and Archbishops Gorun Babian and Nareg Alemezian from the Holy See of Cilicia represented the Armenian Orthodox Church at the enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Abuna Mathias in Addis Ababa.

During the ceremony, Archbishop Gorun read the message of His Holiness Aram I, who described the long historical relationship between the two sister churches and particularly the recent close relations with the late Patriarch Abuna Paulos. The Catholicos said that he looked forward to working in that same spirit with the new patriarch.

The visit to Addis Ababa was also an opportunity for the Armenian delegation to celebrate the Holy Liturgy at the St. Gregory Armenian Church and to greet the community.
Armenian Orthodox Church (The Holy See of Cilicia)


Antelias: In a letter addressed to His Holiness Pope Francis I, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I congratulated the election of the Pope "with profound spiritual joy and in the spirit of Christian love and fellowship", expressing hope that "at these challenging times, facing the Roman Catholic Church, his election will bring a new hope towards the Church's mission and witness". Aram I also hopes that "the simplicity of His Holiness' life", his "particular emphasis on the 'church of poor', and firm commitment to the pastoral outreach of the church will certainly generate a new vitality for the Catholic Church's evangelistic engage­ment".

Referring to the ecumenical involvement of the Catholic Church, Aram I expects that it will "acquire even broader articulation on global, regional and local levels", and the ecumenical col­laboration, which is deeply rooted in the history, between the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia and the Church of Rome will continue "with renewed impetus".
Armenian Orthodox Church (The Holy See of Cilicia)

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin urges Raffi Hovhannisian to stop hunger strike

YEREVAN, MARCH 15, ARMENPRESS. The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin issued a statement regarding the post- election developments in Armenia. The statement the Information System of the Mother See conveyed to "Armenpress" runs as follows:

"Following the post-election developments and comments made during it we want to state the following. We highly appreciate the soberness of our people which has become the guarantee of peaceful and civilized conduction of elections. Taking into consideration the reports and assessments of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Armenia and observation missions, and other information, the Mother See Holy Ejmiatsin has clearly expressed its position over the election results and the attempt to make the Church, the Catholicos and even the Gospel, used during president's inauguration ceremony, as subjects of political speculations is inadmissible."

The Holy See also urged the people to pray and be guided by brotherly love and solidarity spirit during the Period of the Great Lent, restraining from manifestations of intolerance and hatred.

The Holy See also called on Raffi Hovannisian to stop the hunger strike and choose a more constructive way of political struggle. The church does not justify hunger-strike as it is a life-threatening action.


Addressing people in one of his rallies in Freedom square, on March 10, Armenia’s opposition Heritage Party leader, former FM Raffi Hovannisian—who is declared runner-up to the winner, incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan, as a result of the presidential election that was conducted on February 18, but who claims to be the real winner in the vote and who declared a hunger strike on March 10 at capital city Yerevan’s Liberty Square— said, "If on April 9, Serzh Sargsyan takes a fake oath on the Bible, and if the Catholicos desecrates the Bible, they will do it over my dead body!"

Statement from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has issued a statement on the current political situation following the presidential elections in Armenia.

"We greatly appreciate our people's good sense, which guaranteed the conduct of a peaceful and civilized election. Taking into consideration the reports and assessments of the February 18 presidential election by the Central Election Commission and foreign observation missions, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has clearly expressed its stance on the election results. We consider all attempts at politicizing the Holy Church, the Armenian Catholicos, and the Gospel of the Virgin Mary (that is used during the swearing-in ceremony of Armenia's President) to be unacceptable.

In this period of Great Lent, we invite our nation's children to pray. We exhort them to be guided by the spirit of brotherly love and solidarity and keep themselves away from actions of intolerance and hatred.

We also urge Raffi Hovannisian to end his hunger strike in Freedom Square, and to choose a more constructive means for political struggle. The Church does not condone a hunger strike because it threatens to harm life which is granted only by God.

Information Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin 15 March, 2013:

His Holiness Karekin II Congratulates Newly Elected Pope Francis

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope-elect Fracis )
with Catholicos Karekkin II (Photo taken
 on 19-05-2004 at Argentina)
Etchmiadzin, 14 March, 2013: On March 14, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians congratulated His Holiness Francis, Pope, Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church on his election.

The Pontifical congratulations stated in part:

"Dear Brother in Christ,

On the joyous occasion of Your election as successor to the Holy See of St. Peter, we convey to Your Holiness greetings of fraternal love and congratulations. We pray that the Lord will grant to your Holiness a most fruitful pontificate blessed with many ever-lasting accomplishments for the glory of God and the splendor of the Church of Christ.

We fondly remember our meetings and prayers together with Your Holiness in Argentina, during which we came to know you as a good shepherd, and a courageous, wise, and just Church Leader. We are happy to avow Your sincere love and affection shown towards the Armenian people.

It is also spiritually comforting that the historical relationship between our Churches has been distinguished with fraternal warmth. We greatly value the significant progress that our Churches have made, a result of the collaborative efforts undertaken during the pontificates of ourselves and our predecessors. This has been manifested through mutual visits and elaborated through many educational and charitable programs.

It is our prayer that our cooperative efforts will continue to grow into the future and that the relations between our two sister Churches will blossom with new achievements for the sake of meeting the challenges facing humanity, and in promoting and fortifying the dialogue and solidarity between nations and religions."

Information Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin



Vatican City, 13 March 2013 (VIS) – Following is the official biography, published on the occasion of the Conclave by the Holy See Press Office with the information provided by the cardinals themselves.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite, was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He studied as and holds a degree as a chemical technician, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he moved to the novitiate of the Company of Jesus where he finished studies in the humanities in Chile. In 1963, on returning to Buenos Aires, he obtained a degree in philosophy at the St. Joseph major seminary of San Miguel.

Between 1964 and 1965 he taught literature and psychology at the Immacolata College in Santa Fe and then in 1966 he taught the same subjects at the University of El Salvador, in Buenos Aires.

From 1967 to 1970 he studied theology at the St. Joseph major seminary of San Miguel where he obtained a degree. On 13 December 1969 he was ordained a priest. From 1970 to 1971 he completed the third probation at Alcala de Henares, Spain, and on 22 April 1973, pronounced his perpetual vows.

He was novice master at Villa Varilari in San Miguel from 1972 to 1973, where he also taught theology. On 31 July 1973 he was elected as Provincial for Argentina, a role he served as for six years.

From 1980 to 1986 he was rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel as well as pastor of the Patriarca San Jose parish in the Diocese of San Miguel. In March of 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis. The superiors then sent him to the University of El Salvador and then to Cordoba where he served as a confessor and spiritual director.

On 20 May 1992, John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, He received episcopal consecration in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires from Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Apostolic Nunzio Ubaldo Calabresi, and Bishop Emilio Ognenovich. of Mercedes-Lujan on 27 June of that year.

On 3 June 1997 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998.

He was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.

He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.

He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Roberto Bellarmino (St. Robert Bellarmine).

He was a member of:
The Congregations for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; and for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
the Pontifical Council for the Family; and
the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

VIS - Vatican Information Service


Vatican City, 13 March 2013 (Vatican Information Service-VIS) - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., has been elected as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, the 265th Roman successor of Peter, and has chosen the name Francis. He is the first Latin American Pope, the first Jesuit Pope, and the first “Francis” in the pontificate.

At 8:12pm—55 minutes after the appearance of the white “fumata” at 7:06pm—the Cardinal proto-deacon Jean-Louis Tauran made the solemn announcement to the people from the external Loggia of the Hall of Blessings of the Vatican Basilica.

Following are the words pronounced by Cardinal Tauran:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam;
Eminentissium ac Reverendissium Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.

[I announce to you with great joy;
We have a Pope;
The most eminent and most reverend Lord
Lord Mario
Cardinal of Holy Roman Church Bergoglio
Who has taken the name Francis.]

Conclave Notes
The conclave that led to the election of Pope Francis began on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, with the "Extra omnes" pronounced at 5:33pm by Msgr. Guido Marini, master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, following the taking of the oath by the 115 cardinal electors.

The first black “fumata” took place at 7:42pm the same day.
On Wednesday, 13 March, there was black smoke at 11:40am.
On Wednesday, 13 March, there was white smoke at 7:06pm.

First “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing of the New Holy Father Francis
Before the new Pope appeared at the balcony, an honour guard of Swiss Guards in full military regalia and bearing the pontifical standard marched into the square and took their places under the Loggia followed by a representation of the various Italian armed forces that, since 1929, have paid homage to the Pope on important occasions as a sign of the reconciliation between the Holy See and the Italian State. The Holy See marching band accompanied the wait. As soon as they heard the name of the new pontiff, the crowd began to chant together: “Francesco, Francesco”.

At 8:24pm, the Holy Father Francis, preceded by the Cross, appeared at the Loggia of the brightly lit Vatican Basilica. Before imparting the “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world) apostolic blessing he greeted the enormous crowd that had been gathering all afternoon in cold and rainy St. Peter's Square saying:

“Dear brothers and sisters,
Good evening. You know that the duty of the Conclave was to give Rome a bishop. It seems that my brother cardinals picked him from almost the ends of the earth. But here we are! I thank you for the warm welcome. The diocesan community of Rome has its bishop. Thank you! First and foremost I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and the Virgin keep him.”

After leading the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Gloria, Pope Francis again addressed the crowd saying:

“And now let us begin this journey, bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which is the one that leads all the churches in charity. A journey of fraternity, of trust between us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the world so that this might be a great brotherhood. I hope that this journey of the Church that we begin today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar here present will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.”

“Now I would like to impart the blessing, but first, first I ask a favor of you. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that He bless me: the prayer of the people asking a blessing for their bishop. Let us pray in silence, this your prayer for me.”

“Now I will impart the blessing to you and all the world, to all men and women of good will.”

After imparting the apostolic blessing Pope Francis added: “Brothers and sisters, I take my leave. Thank you for your warm welcome. Tomorrow I'm going to pray to the Virgin, that she will safeguard all of Rome. Good night and rest well.”

Vatican Information Service-VIS


Abba Seraphim welcomes statement by Patriarch John X of Antioch

12th March, 2013

Abba Seraphim has welcomed the recent comments by His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch in his Encyclical Letter, which speaks of the need to work towards full sacramental unity between the two families of Orthodox Churches. “It is the most encouraging step in this long dialogue for several years and we must hope that other Patriarchs will respond with the same clarity and conviction as Patriarch John”, said Abba Seraphim. “The significant agreements made during the official dialogue between the Eastern & Oriental Orthodox Churches between 1985-1993 had seemed so full of promise but, sadly, over the past twenty years there has been little or no movement to build on these. In the past, the two Patriarchates of Antioch have been in the forefront of co-operation and practical implementation of the agreements reached. It is heartening to see that Patriarch John has made this a priority. At a time when the political situation in Syria is so dark and destructive, the reaching out in love between the two Orthodox families is a ray of light and hope.”

The section of Patriarch John’s extensive Encyclical which addresses this is given below:

“Towards a Full Sacramental Unity of the Christians:

We, as Antiochians, are aware of the painful wound inflicted on the body of Christ by the schism between the believers. This has led the Antiochian Church to participate actively for decades in every dialogue to remove the obstacles which block the way to restoring the unity of the Christian world. We will always be faithful to the policy of my predecessors. I insist on the importance of maintaining the absolute respect between the Churches ignoring any arrogance, anathematizing, and schismatization. I am deeply convinced that Orthodoxy; which is the basis of every interaction between us and other Churches, is a unifying factor not a divisive one. I am also convinced that adhering to it is the right way. With love and humility, we strengthen the common factors that bind us all together. There will undoubtedly be differences, not in essentials, and this a source of propitious diversity. This shall be considered a richness to us, and not a deviation of our adherence to Christ.

Therefore, we hope to accomplish all steps towards a full sacramental unity with our brethren in the Eastern non-Chalcedonian Churches, based on what we have agreed upon in Chambesy as a positive result of a long and extensive dialogue. If we realize this, we should be able to show that we have offered a living example of the credibility of our endeavors to achieve unity and to witness to our loyalty to the Lord. On this occasion, we also affirm that we will continue all dialogues now taking place between the different Eastern and Western Churches, seeking to show our unlimited readiness to show the face of the bride, that is the Church. In this respect, we should affirm the importance of the living witness which we as Christians should show by living the love we carry to the whole world in the name of Jesus Christ. We call for consultation among ourselves as Christian Churches, about the different issues raised by the modem world, emphasizing the issues that unite us and constitute our common denominators. These common denominators can be offered to the man of today as a consolation from the Lord.”
Source: The British Orthodox Church


Mar Yacoub Edward Consecrated Archbishop of Guatemala

Beirut, March 9, 2013: Mor Yacoub Edward Consecrated as New Archbishop of Patriarchal Vicariate of Guatemala. His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas consecrated Very Rev. Rabban Edward as the Archbishop of Patriarchal Vicariate of Guatemala in the name “Mar Yacoub” on 06th March 2013 at the Monastery of St Jacob Baradeaus in Atchena, Beirut, Lebanon.

The Syriac Orthodox Church has a fast growing Mission in Guatemala and other parts of South America. There has been large number of converts to different Orthodox Churches/Missions in Latin American region in recent years particularly from the Roman Catholic Church.



His Holiness Aram I meets with the Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch His Beatitude Patriarch Gregory III

Antelias: His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia meets with His Beatitude Patriarch Gregory III Lahham of the Greek Roman Catholic church, Friday 8 February 2013.

On Friday 8 February 2013, the two spiritual leaders met in Rabué. They discussed ways of reinforcing the unity of Christians in the region and strengthening the Middle East Council of Churches. They also discussed the possibility of celebrating Easter together and proposed organizing a meeting of the Heads of the Churches in the Middle East.

Armenian Orthodox Church (The Holy See of Cilicia)

Catholicos of All Armenians Received the President of the German Bundestag

Etchmiadzin, 06 March, 2013: On March 6, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians received Mr. Wolfgang Thierse, Deputy President of the German Bundestag (Parliament). The Deputy President and his delegation were accompanied by Hermine Nikhogosyan, Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.

During the meeting His Holiness expressed his appreciation for the developing relations between the two countries. He noted that such inter-parliamentary ties will contribute the collaboration between two nations.

His Holiness expressed his appreciation for Deputy President Thierse’s important contributions to recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide by the German Bundestag. The Pontiff of All Armenians expressed his gratitude for the kindness shown by the German governmental authorities towards the Armenian community of Germany.
Information Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

His Holiness Aram I Congratulates the New President of Cyprus

ANTELIAS, 26 February 2013: His Holiness Aram I sent a letter of congratulations to Nikos Anastasiadis, the new President-elect of the Republic of Cyprus. In his letter, the Catholicos wrote, “Our churches share identical histories, similar traditions and common values. Both our churches and people advocate justice and human rights. The challenges addressed to our people and the world urge us to strengthen our cooperation and express forcefully our common commitments. “Referring t the Armenian community in Cyprus, Catholicos Aram wrote, “The members of our community in Cyprus are loyal citizens and they will do their utmost to contribute to the development and prosperity of the island.”
Armenian Orthodox Church


HH Karekin II Sends Letter of Congratulations to Armenian President Sarkisian

H H Karekin II with Armenian President Sarkisian
Etchmiadzin, 20 February, 2013: On February 19, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, sent a letter of congratulations to President Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion of the President's re-election.

"Your election shows that people can see progress and prospects for the development of Armenia, trust your projects, and value the reforms enacted, along with your dedication, your past service and contributions to the Homeland," the letter states in part.

His Holiness expressed his wish that during Serzh Sargsyan's second term in office, that the nation's prosperity and way of life steadily improve, and that the nation overcome problems and difficulties during these critical times.

On the same day, the Catholicos of All Armenians, accompanied by members of the Supreme Spiritual Council, visited the President and offered his pontifical blessings.

Information Service of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

Serzh Sargsyan

Serzh Azati Sargsyan (Armenian: Սերժ Ազատի Սարգսյան, IPA: [ˈsɛɾʒ sɑɾɡˈsjɑn]; born June 30, 1954) is the third and current President of Armenia. He won the February 2008 presidential election with the backing of the conservative Republican Party of Armenia, a party in which he serves as chairman, and took office in April 2008. On February 18, 2013, he was reelected as President.-

Karekin II Congratulated New Bulgarian Patriarch His Holiness Neofit

Bulgarian Patriarch His Holiness Neofit 
Photo:Department for External Church Relations 
of the Russian Orthodox Church

Etchmiadzin,01 March, 2013: His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, sent a congratulatory message to the newly elected Patriarch of the Bulgarian Greek Orthodox Church, His Holiness Neofit.

"We ask for the Lord’s help and support for Your Holiness, with the wish that the heavenly God decorate Your Pontifical service with new achievements for the vibrancy of the Church of Bulgaria and for the spiritual comfort of Your pious and faithful flock. It is also our prayer that the Lord grant that the efforts of Your Holiness and Your Church to yield great success for the sake of increased peace and solidarity, for promoting and fortification of the dialogue and friendship between the churches and religions, "says the pontifical congratulations in part.

His Holiness noted with happiness that there is a flourishing community in Bulgaria which is a testament to the longstanding historical ties and cooperation. He expressed his hope that during the pontificate of Patriarch Neofit, the fraternal and friendly relations existing between the churches would continue to blossom and give new results for the glory of God and for the well-being of the faithful.

Source: Information Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

Ruse Metropolitan Neofit Elected Bulgarian Patriarch

Sofia,February 24, 2013, Sunday: Ruse Metropolitan Neofit has been elected Patriarch of the Bulgarian Greek Orthodox Church by the Holy Synod's national church council.

Neofit prevailed over two other candidates at runoff.

The three who were were chosen after prolonged debates and stalemates last weekend were: Neofit, the Stara Zagora metropolitan Galaktion, and Lovech's Gavriil.

The news about Neofit's election was announced Sunday by interim Patriarch and Sofia Metropolitan, Kiril.

Neofit collected 90 votes at runoff against Gavrail, who got 47.

The announcement was accompanied by solemn church bells in downtown Sofia.

Neofit was born on October 15, 1945 in Sofia.

He is a graduate of the Theology Academy in Sofia, and has specialized in Moscow.

Neofit is a former lecturer and conductor of the Theology Academy choir, coadjutor at Sofia Bishopric, President of the Theology Academy, first Dean of the restored Faculty of Theology at Sofia University, and was Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod.

He is known to have been very close to late Patriarch Maxim.

Bulgaria's Patriarch Maxim, who led the Church since 1971, passed away on November 6, 2012, at the age of 98.

A solemn procession is about to begin from the Holy Synod building to the Alexander Nevsky cathedral. There is a cordon of representatives of all military divisions of Bulgaria.

At the end of the enthronization ceremony, the new Patriarch will step to the throne, when two Bishops will promulgate three times "Worthy" for him, followed by the clergy and then the laity.

The new Patriarch will receive the patriarchy attributes: robe, crown, scepter, the patriarchal cross and the engolpiya (small icons) – the latter two worn on the chest.

Source: Novinite

External Links
Orthodox Church of Bulgaria Elects New Patriarch
Delegation of Russian Greek Orthodox Church takes part in the enthronement of Bulgarian Patriarch


His Holiness Karekin II Sent Congratulations to His Holiness Abune Mathias on his election as New Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Etchmiadzin, 01 March, 2013: His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians sent a congratulatory message to His Holiness Abune Mathias on the occasion of his election as Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

The letter stated in part: "We are full of hope that during your pontificate our sister Church of Ethiopia will continue to progress in her God-commanded mission, also strengthening and fostering the friendship between the people and religions of Ethiopia, helping the needy, and defending human rights.

We confirm with happiness that the relations between our Churches and nations are historical. It has been crowned with many achievements and examples of the cooperation of love, which has its positive influence on our bilateral relations today. We are confident that during the pontificate of Your Holiness, the historical friendship of our Churches, which has an important role in the small but historical Armenian community of Ethiopia, will continue to thrive and realize new results of fruitful cooperation for the sake of inter-religious and inter-church relations, and for establishing peace and sustainability in the world "says the message of congratulations.

His Holiness offered his prayer that God keep and protect the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church and the new Patriarch under the blessings of His Right hand, and grant His Holiness Abune Mathias I good health, many years of life and a flourishing Pontifical reign.

The Armenian Church will be represented at the enthronement of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch by His Eminence Archbishop Avak Asaturyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq; and His Grace Bishop Ashot Mnatsakanyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Egypt.

Information Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

His Holiness the Catholicose of the East attended the enthronement ceremony of the new Ethiopian Patriarch

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
Catholic Church
18. His Eminence Archbishop George Panikulam, Vatican Apostolic
Nunciature, Addis Ababa, representative of the Vatican in the Consecration.
Anglican Church
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.

Source: marthoman.tv

From Pope Tawadros to Pope Benedict

CAIRO, Sunday 03 Mar 2013: The Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II has sent a message to Pope Benedict XVI upon his resignation in which he expressed “brotherly love in Christ” and heartfelt wishes for “peace in the spirit and health in the flesh”

The Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II has sent a message to Pope Benedict XVI upon his resignation in which he expressed “brotherly love in Christ” and heartfelt wishes for “peace in the spirit and health in the flesh”.
Pope Tawadros wrote that Pope Benedict’s decision to resign the papacy moved him deeply. “We are certain this decision was taken in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, following fasts and prayers.
“Our Coptic Orthodox Church,” Pope Tawadros said, “sees in Your Holiness a high spiritual calibre, and deeply appreciates your concern with theological dialogue and the rapprochement of the Churches. And we can never forget your support for our Church during the hard and painful times in our recent history.
“We are praying for Your Holiness,” Pope Tawadros concluded, “asking the Lord Jesus Christ to bestow upon you health, strength and long life. And we ask for the intercession of the Holy Virgin and all the saints to guide the Catholic Church in choosing a new spiritual leader.”
The message was sent to Pope Benedict through Anba Barnaba, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Rome.
Mariam Rifaat - Michael Victor
Watani International

His Holiness Abune Mathias I enthroned 6th Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Addis Ababa, March 3, 2013: His holiness Abune Mathias was enthroned as the 6th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) on Sunday, 03 March 2013.

The Catholicos - Patriarch of The Indian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II and representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church (Metropolitan Amba Bishoy, Metropolitan Amba Bakhomious, Metropolitan Amba Hedra, Archbishop Biemen and Archbishop Rafael) attended the coronation ceremony held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa.

After the Enthronement ceremony, the new Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, His holiness Abune Mathias I affirmed that the Holy Synod would endeavor to nurture followers with magnificent religious values. H H Abune Mathias also stressed the need for solidification the Church’s working procedures.
H H Abune Mathias I on the occasion said the Church will work in collaboration with followers of the religion, clergy, and stakeholders to further strengthen the existing love and unity of the people. The Patriarch said the Church will also work in collaboration with stakeholders to further enhance the existing culture of tolerance in the country (Ethiopia). The Church will work towards peace, love and tolerance with religious leaders in the Church, he said. (ENA)
Speaker of the House of Peoples' Representatives of Ethiopia, Abadula Gemeda on his part expressed belief that the Patriarch will further intensify the culture of tolerance in the country. Representatives of different churches across the world, religious leaders and followers of the Church as well as higher level government officials took part in the event.

Abune Matthias was elected as the new Patriarch the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church on Thursday 28 February 2013, replacing Abune Paulos who passed away in August last year.

The new Patriarch was elected by 500 votes out of 806 cast by members of the church synod living in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Born Teklemariam Asrat in Sebu'i Woreda of the former Agame Awraja in Tigray State in 1941, Abune Mathias has lived abroad for over 30 years. He initially left from Ethiopia following the military coup in 1974 and has travelled widely in Europe and America.

He was serving as the Archbishop of the Church in Jerusalem before his election as Patriarch on Thursday.

The office of the Patriarch has been vacant since August last year after Abune Paulos, who was elected Patriarch in 1992 died after a short illness.

Photo: Misawa ZeRaguel


H.H. Pope Tawadros II: ‘We Pray for the Churches of Rome and Ethiopia’

H.H. Pope Tawadros II during his first weekly sermon
Photograph: Sami Wahib/MCN

Cairo, 28 February 2013 , 2013:  “The Church of Ethiopia begins elections (Feb. 28) for its new pope, to succeed Pope Paulos, who will be ordained next Sunday, 3 March,” H.H. Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, has announced.

“The Coptic Orthodox Church will participate as a high-level delegation in this election and will also attend the enthronement ceremony,” he added.

“The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is a sister of the Coptic Orthodox Church and we pray that God chooses righteous shepherd for the Church.”

The Coptic Christian Pope spoke during his weekly sermon delivered at the papacy headquarters in Abbasiya, Cairo.

We are proud of the Roman Pope Benedict XVI

He also noted that he sent a letter of adoration to Roman Pope Benedict XVI, given to the patriarch by Bishop Barnabas, the bishop of the Coptic Church in Rome.

Pope Tawadros II said, “We are proud of the Roman Pope, the dialogue and his love, wisdom and high theological stature, as well as his participation with us, the Eastern churches, in all occasions including the most recent ordainment last November.”

“He saw that his health was not suitable to complete his career and this is something rare in the history of Rome.”

Roman Catholic Pope Benedict steps down as Pope on Feb. 28, becoming “Pope Emeritus.” A successor will be elected in March during a Conclave held in Rome.

Source: Global Christian Post /MidEast Christian News (MCN)


As the Pope goes, a new Patriarch arrives

Ethiopia: Matthias is elected new Patriarch of the Orthodox Church

The newly elected patriarch Mathias
Photo courtesy of Deje Selam

As Catholic faithful say goodbye to their pope, Ethiopia's 50 million-strong Orthodox Church prepares to welcome its new 71-year old patriarch

Giorgio Bernardelli
Vatican Insider
milan 02/28/2013

As the Pope goes, a new Patriarch arrives. Completely by chance, as Catholics around the world bid farewell to Benedict XVI today, Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church elected its new patriarch, the 71 year old abune, Matthias, who was previously Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem. Matthias succeeds Abune Paulos who led this ancient Eastern Church - which currently has 50 million members – from 1991 until his death last August. Abune Matthias’ enthronement is expected to take place this Sunday in Addis Abeba.

The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia is an ancient Christian community with a tradition that dates back to the age of the apostles. The most famous element of its long history are the cave churches of Lalibela, on the plateau known as the Ethiopian Jerusalem, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Despite this century-old tradition, Matthias will only be Ethiopia’s sixth patriarch: until just over fifty years ago, Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church had an identity and a liturgy of its own (the ge’ez, forefather of today’s Amharic liturgy) but was also united with the Coptic Patriarchate in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1959, Coptic pope, Cyril VI recognised it as an autocephalous Church, crowning Archbishop Basilios as its first patriarch. But in little more than fifty years, the Church has been through some quite tough times: Dictator Mengistu put Theophilus, Basilios’ first successor in prison in 1976 and in 1979the patriarch was killed. The Ethiopian dictator appointed two successors who were not recognised by the other Churches. It was only in 1991 – when Mengistu’s dictatorship fell –that the hierarchy of the Ethiopian Church was restored with the election of Patriarch Paulos.

It is worth adding that the Mengistu’s regime forced the new patriarch, Matthias, to flee from Ethiopia. The patriarch has lived away from Addis Abeba for more than thirty years. Interestingly, his title (Archbishop of Jerusalem) is not coincidental: Ethiopian Christianity has maintained strong ties with what all Christians see as the mother Church. Its clergy lives in a monastery near the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The strict rules of the community’s status quo make it possible for them to celebrate their rites in the very place where Jesus died and was resurrected.

courtesy:Vatican Insider

Profile: Patriarch-elect Abune Mathias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

by Daniel Berhane on Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:56 pm

Abune Mathias is elected as the 6th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church receiving two-third of the votes cast.

Abune Mathias was born Aba Teklemariam Asrat in 1934 Ethiopian calendar (1940/41 European calendar) in Tigray region, Agame awraja, Sebuha wereda.

He attained basic literacy in the traditional schooling service of the church under Kesis Weldegerima.

He was ordained as deacon in 1948 (1954/55 European calendar) by Abune Markos, the then Archbishop of Eritrea province.

Following that, he started serving in several capacities at the Chohé monastery, Tenben awraja, Tigray region, where he stayed for most of the subsequent 14 years.

In 1955 (1962/63), he was ordained as a Monk.

He served in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa, from 1964-68(1971/72 to 75/76) assuming various roles.

Subsequently, he served for three years as a close aide (referred to as "Abune kesis" and especial secretary) to Patriarch Abune Teklehailmanot.

Abune Mathias was ordained as Episkopos in 1971 (1978/79).

Currently, Abune Mathias is Archbishop of the Church’s monastery in Jerusalem.

Abune Mathias became the 6th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the election held today where he received 500 of the 806 the votes cast by an electoral college representing various sections of the Church.

The rest of the votes were distributed to the other four fathers competing for the post. According to official results, Abune Elsaé, Abune Yosef, Abune Matheos and Abune Hizkel received 39, 98, 98 and 70 votes, respectively.

Abune Mathias will be enthroned as Patriarch this weekend, on March 3, 2013, at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, in Addis Ababa.

Courtesy: Danielberhane's Blog The Leading Blog in Ethiopia