Mahibere Kidusan Gives Statement on Orthodox Exhibition Ban

March 28, 2016

By M/hr Kassa Nigus

It is public knowledge that Mahibere Kidusan has finalized preparations to hold its 5th Grand Exhibition from March 24 – 30, 2016 at Addis Ababa Exhibition Center. But in a rather surprising move the exhibition has been banned very unexpectedly by government bodies just a few hours earlier from the due time for the opening of the exhibition. Last Thursday, Mahibere Kidusan gave a press conference regarding the issue.

01tesf.pngGeneral Secretary of the association, Ato Tesfaye Bihonegn explained the steps went through and the activities carried out in organizing the exhibition. According to Ato Tesfaye, Mahiber Kidusan has reached agreement with the exhibition center to stage a one week exhibition a year before, August 2015. He also added that, they have fulfilled all the required criteria. First, a letter of endorsement giving the go-ahead and written by the general manager of the Patriarchate of Archbishop Abune Mathewos was submitted to the company followed by the signing of an agreement with the company and handing over of the initial payment.

In accordance with the agreement, we made the last payment on March 21, 2016. But in the morning of March 23, 2016, a day before the due opening date, when the exhibition committee requested the key to the exhibition hall to take-in materials for the event, in a rather shocking move the committee was told that they could not enter the exhibition hall. When they asked them the rationale for their unexpected refusal, they told them that they should bring permission letter from Addis Ababa city administration. This request was unusual requirement and such a question has never been raised before. As it turns out, the rationale behind the ban has not been openly and clearly expressed, and the company itself has found the measure puzzling. The exhibition center has taken the responsibility for the suspension of the exhibition.

Lastly, Ato Tesfaye indicated that the exhibition was banned by government bodies. He also elaborated on the problem, and expressed his hope that it will be solved through discussion with the concerned bodies. The management of Mahiber Kidusan will announce where and when the exhibition takes place in the future.

Afan Oromo Language Book of Liturgy Inaugurated

March 28, 2016

By Kassa N. & Tsegaye Girma

01m_kidasee.pngThe Book Liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodo0x Tewahido Church has been translated into Oromoiffa. The inauguration ceremony of the newly published Book of Liturgy was held last week on March 19, 2016, at Elili International Hotel, Addis Ababa

02m_kidase.pngHis Holiness Abune Mathias, Archbishops, former Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis, officials of the Oromia region, administrators and staff members of Addis Ababa Diocese, Oromifa speaking intellectuals and believers attended the inauguration ceremony.

During the event, a report on the translation project which took about ten years was presented by the committee and concerned archbishops. According to the report, the project was started by the good will of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Church in 1998 E.C.

The committee tasked with the project consisted of four members from the council of intellectuals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and  five additional scholars, and was led by four Oromiffa speaking archbishops: His Grace Abune Henok, His Grace Abune Sawiros, His Grace Abune Yared and His Grace Abune Ewostatewos.  The translation was meticulously observed and edited by scholars of Addis Ababa University and native speakers of the language. The book consists of different dialects to make it comprehensive and inclusive of all Oromiffa speakers.

In his welcoming speech to the invited guests who attended the program, His Grace Abune Sawiros, archbishop of Western Shewa diocese, recalled the significant role the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church played in producing God-fearing generation. He said, “The church led its children on a path of civilization by illuminating the light of knowledge through the invention of unique Alphabets with their syllables before the establishment of the modern ministry of education. So, she has been praised forever for her contribution.” His Grace also congratulated the participants of the ceremony on the translation of the Book and thanked the parties involved in the project.  

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, His Holiness noted that the translation of the Book of Liturgy, which consists of the 14 Anaphoras, is aimed at enabling the Church’s Oromo fellowship to worship and praise God in their native tongue. He added, “This proves that our church is all inclusive and has been serving its children equally. We will also devise long and short term plans to translate the Book into the languages of the country’s diverse nations and nationalities.

His Grace Abune Henok, archbishop of western Wellega (Qelem and Assosa) diocese, on his part said,“The translation work started in 1998 E.C and took 10 years to complete. Some anti-Orthodox groups have tried to politicize our faith saying Ethiopian Orthodox church is a faith of certain ethnic groups. Now, this work is a turning point for this stereotype. The original Ge’ez language and its Yaredic hymn are preserved without modification and no one touches it.  The Ethiopian Ge’ez language is a center of unity and unifies all nations and nationalities.”  04m_kidase.png

Participants of the event also expressed their delight over the translation of the Book of Liturgy into Oromiffa.  The newly published Book consists of three columns: Ge’ez, Amharic, Afan Oromo (Latin alphabet letters). Each copy is available for sale at a price of ETB 375.00.

Welcome to the 5th Grand Exhibition of Mahibere Kidusan

March 18, 2016 


The exhibition, which will be held under the theme ‘Realizing the doctrine of Orthodox Church, and our roles’, aims at acquainting Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians with the Orthodox Christianity doctrine and encouraging them to contribute their share in preserving their faith.

The Exhibition explores the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church teachings by focusing on four themes:
•  Major features of the church,
• The Apostolic Mission of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church particularly in Ethiopia and Africa, and in the world in general,
•  The current challenges of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church,
•  What can Orthodox Christians do? What is expected of them?
The exhibition includes slide presentations, short Documentaries, animations, photographs, saint icons, audiovisual pieces, artworks, films, and banners. Striking presentations supported by modern technologies are available.
Highlights of the exhibition will be presented, accompanied by special sermons and Saint Yared hymns. And much more.

Mahibere Kidusan cordially invites Orthodox Christians to attend this event of utmost importance. Learn about your church and make a difference through simple interventions.

    Venue:- Addis Ababa Exhibition Center
    Date:-  March 24 – 30, 2016 /for seven consecutive days/
   Time:-  8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  Entrance Fee:-  Eth. birr 20
  Organizer:-     Mahibere Kidusan

 If you have comments, suggestions and questions, please feel free to forward them via:
Phone: 09 47 35 47 47 / 09 47 47 35 47

Coptic Bishop explains the Ethiopian people will not allow Egypt to be harmed (By Al-Monitor)

March 17, 2016
The Online newspaper media, Al-Monitor (termed as the pulse of the Middle East), based in Washington, DC. , made an interview with Bishop Beeman, who coordinates ties between the Egyptian and Ethiopian Coptic churches, about the crisis management of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, one of the largest dams in the world. 
The dam which is currently under construction on the Blue Nile River is expected to generate 6,000MW hydro electric power, the main and saddle dams will also create reservoirs with an impounding capacity of 74 billion cubic meters.
Egypt and Ethiopia become suspicious of each other since Ethiopia began construction on the 4.8 billion dollar Grand Renaissance Dam in 2011. Egypt fears the new dam, will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile, which 85 million Egyptians rely on for almost all of their water needs while the Ethiopian government believes the dam will not reduces the total water supply. Ethiopians believe that the dam will become an image of national pride and a symbol of the country’s recent development. 

According to the Al- Monitor, Bishop Beeman, the coordinator of relations between the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic churches and chairman of the crisis management committee at the Coptic Holy Synod, told Al-Monitor that the church plays an indirect role in the Renaissance Dam crisis, explaining that the Ethiopian people will not allow Egypt to be harmed. Beeman talked about the churches attacked and burned after security forces broke up sit-ins being held by supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi at the Rabia al-Adawiya and Nahda Squares. He also addressed the latest efforts deployed by the armed forces to rebuild or renovate these churches. The text of the interview follows:

Al-Monitor:  In your capacity as coordinator of relations between the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic churches, do you think the Egyptian Coptic Church can play a role in resolving the Renaissance Dam crisis?
Beeman:  Based on its historical and spiritual ties with the Ethiopian church, the Coptic Orthodox Church can play an indirect role. The church is the soft power trusted by Egypt and Ethiopia. The church is openly fulfilling its duties in an organized and orderly manner and is sending messages of love to the Ethiopian people. We seek to consolidate relations between the Ethiopian and Egyptian peoples in order to create a suitable climate for politicians and technicians so as to improve the dam negotiation.
Al-Monitor:  You have said that the Ethiopian people and church will not allow to harm the Egyptian people in terms of decreasing Nile water quotas. Did you mean that the Ethiopian people object to the government’s stance on the Renaissance Dam issue?
Beeman:  What I mean is that the Ethiopian people and church will not allow the government to harm the Egyptian people. This was confirmed by the Ethiopian church leaders in all of our meetings. They always asked the Egyptian people to help them in their development process. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has stressed that the development of Ethiopia is in Egypt’s best interest, provided that Egypt’s Nile water quota is not prejudiced.
Al-Monitor:  Can the Ethiopian church play a role in solving the Renaissance Dam crisis?
Beeman:  The Ethiopian church is the voice of the Ethiopian people, and an active government expresses the will of its people. Ethiopians are expressing their love for the Egyptian people and their keenness on supporting the Egyptians’ interests.
Al-Monitor:  You have been present during President Sisi’s visits to Ethiopia. Do you think that such visits help in advancing toward a solution to the crisis?
Beeman:  President Sisi visited Ethiopia twice. Presidential visits contribute to solving the crisis. It should be noted that the president’s speech before the Ethiopian parliament had a significant impact and was a clear message to the Ethiopian people that Egypt appreciates Ethiopia.
Al-Monitor:  There is a dispute between the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic churches concerning ownership of Deir es-Sultan, a monastery atop the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. What is the status of this dispute? Does it impact relations in general between the two branches of the church?
Beeman:  The Deir Es-Sultan crisis is stagnant, but after the ordination of Anba Anthony as the new bishop of Jerusalem, the case will be revived. We do not mention this crisis during the meetings with the Ethiopian church’s leadership, as we are waiting for the right time to discuss it amicably with them.
Al-Monitor:  In your capacity as the chairman of the Crises Council in the Holy Synod, how many of the churches burned following the breakup of the Rabia al-Adawiya sit-in have been restored?
Beeman:  Sixty-two sites were attacked after the dispersion of the Rabia and Al-Nahda sit-ins. By "site" I mean both the churches and annexed buildings. The armed forces finished the first 10 sites, which constituted the first phase, while 10 other sites were renovated during the second phase. We now have 24 sites, including 14 sites that need to be demolished, rebuilt and partially renovated. The other sites only need to be repainted. The church handled some of the sites, amid facilitated renovation measures and the cooperation of the executive authorities in granting us permits.
Al-Monitor:  How much does it cost to renovate the burned churches?
Beeman:  The state has spent 89 million Egyptian pounds (about $11.3 million) in recent years on the renovation of burned churches.
Al-Monitor:  Did the church incur any costs for renovating the burned churches?
Beeman:  The church did not spend one dime on the renovation. The government handled the renovation of most of the burned churches.
Al-Monitor:  Did businessmen contribute to these renovations?
Beeman:  Church members helped renovate some sites that did not require a huge budget and that were only slightly damaged. The donations were not big, barely reaching 1 million pounds ($112,000), and we must thank them for this help.

Source:Al-Monitor ( 

The Patriarch releases message for Great Lent

March 7, 2016
By Kassa Nigus  


His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, Echege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum has made an address regarding the Fast of Great Lent, locally known as Abiy tsom/Hudade, which will begin on Monday Yekatit 28, 2008 E.C.( March 7, 2016).
During his address held on March 4, 2016 at the special office of the patriarchate, Abune Mathias addressing extensively  about the worth of life  quoting on John : 10:10 “ …I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  Jesus came to earth to save lost mankind and give eternal life for mankind. The first and biggest wealth of every creature is life. The ups and downs of Life of man and other living things are only to give care, preserve and keep going their own life, H.H said.
H.H emphasizes on the meaning of fasting saying, when many Christians think about fasting, they merely remember staying away from food for a specific period of time and restrictions from dairy products but fasting has many more meanings that will benefit you and many more other aspects that we have to understand and perform including abstinence from quarreling, cruelty, injustice, oppression, demoralizing others, selfishness, idleness, and all worldly desires.     
Therefore, during this fasting season, all Christians and every citizens shall stand for unity, peace, fraternity and development of his country and be cleansed from all evil thoughts and deeds that endanger the unity of the country. You also enjoy the season by realizing the suffering of others who have no food and clothing especially those of drought victim relatives. You come close to God through fasting, prayer and loving each other. 

Pope Francis Meets Ethiopian Patriarch: Martyrs seed of Christian unity

March 1, 2016
Pope Francis urged world leaders to “promote peaceful coexistence” in the face of “a devastating outbreak of violence against Christians” on Monday, when he received the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abune Matthias I, in the Vatican.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which rejected the definitions of the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

In his address, Pope Francis told Pope Matthias I “what unites us is greater than what divides us,” and added that “shared sufferings have enabled Christians, otherwise divided in so many ways, to grow closer to one another.”

“Just as in the early Church the shedding of the blood of martyrs became the seed of new Christians, so today the blood of the many martyrs of all the Churches has become the seed of Christian unity,” 
Pope Francis said. “The ecumenism of the martyrs is a summons to us, here and now, to advance on the path to ever greater unity.” Pope Francis noted that “from the beginning” the Ethiopian Church has been a Church of martyrs.

“Today too, you are witnessing a devastating outbreak of violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East and in some parts of Africa,” Pope Francis said. “We cannot fail, yet again, to implore those who govern the world’s political and economic life to promote a peaceful coexistence based on reciprocal respect and reconciliation, mutual forgiveness and solidarity.”

Abune Mathias was scheduled to visit the tomb of St Peter, hold talks at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and celebrate the Divine Liturgy with members of the large Ethiopian community in the chapel of Rome’s ‘Urbanianum’ College.

According to historical records of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Christianity in Ethiopia dates to the 1st century AD as it recorded in the New Testament (Acts 8:26-38) when Philip the Evangelist converted an Ethiopian court official.  Latter, Orthodox Christianity became the established church of the Ethiopian Axumit Kingdom under king Ezana in the 4th century when priesthood and the sacraments were brought for the first time through a Syrian Greek named Frumentius, known by the local population in Ethiopia as Abba Selama, Kesate Birhan ("Father of Peace, Revealer of Light").  Abba Selama was ordained as bishop in Egypt by St Athenasius of Alexandria and returned to Ethiopia to spread the Christian faith. The Church has maintained a number of ancient Jewish traditions, including the practice of circumcision, dietary restrictions and the observance of the Sabbath day.

According to the Parish Council Department of the Patriarchate, the Church counts some 50 million members and until very recently maintained the use of the ancient Ge’ez language for the liturgy, although many parishes now prefer to use Amharic, the main language of modern day Ethiopia.

The Orthodox Church is part of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue with the Catholic Church which meets annually, alternating between Rome and one of the countries represented by the seven Orthodox members. Relations with the Catholic Church were significantly strengthened under the previous Patriarch, Abuna Paulos, who met with Pope John Paul II ion 1993, with Pope Benedict in 2009 and in that same year, also addressed the special Synod of Bishops for Africa as an ecumenical guest. In January 2012 the members of the Mixed Commission were warmly welcomed to Addis Abeba by Abuna Paulos, who died suddenly later in the year.

Abuna Mathias, who lived in exile for three decades during the communist dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam, was elected as head of the Church three years ago, on February 28th, 2013.
The full address by Pope Francis is below
 Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
To His Holiness Pope Matthias I
Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Monday, 29 February 2016
Your Holiness,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is a joy and a moment of grace to be able to welcome all of you here present.  I greet with affection His Holiness and the distinguished members of the Delegation.  I thank you for your words of friendship and spiritual closenesss.  Through you, I send cordial greetings to the bishops, clergy and the entire family of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church throughout the world.  The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Your Holiness’s visit strengthens the fraternal bonds already uniting our Churches.  We recall with gratitude the visit of Patriarch Abuna Paulos to Saint John Paul II in 1993.  On 26 June 2009, Abuna Paulos returned to meet Benedict XVI, who invited him to return in October of that same year as a special guest, to address  the second Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops on the situation in Africa and the challenges facing its peoples.  In the early Church, it was common practice that one Church would send representatives to the synods of other Churches.  This sense of ecclesial sharing was evident also in 2012, on the occasion of the funeral of His Holiness Abuna Paulos, at which a delegation of the Holy See was present.
From 2004 on, the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches have worked together to deepen their communion through the theological dialogue advanced by the Joint International Commission.  We are happy to note the increasing participation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in this dialogue.  Over the years, the Commission has examined the fundamental concept of the Church as communion, understood as participation in the communion between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In this way, we have come to see that we have almost everything in common: one faith, one Baptism, one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are united by virtue of our Baptism, which has made us members of the one Body of Christ.  We are also united by the various common elements of our rich monastic traditions and liturgical practices.  We are brothers and sisters in Christ.  As has often been observed, what unites us is greater than what divides us.
We truly feel that the words of the Apostle Paul apply to us: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26).  Shared sufferings have enabled Christians, otherwise divided in so many ways, to grow closer to one another.  Just as in the early Church the shedding of the blood of martyrs became the seed of new Christians, so today the blood of the many martyrs of all the Churches has become the seed of Christian unity.  The martyrs and saints of all the ecclesial traditions are already one in Christ.  Their names are inscribed in the one martyrologium of the Church of God.  The ecumenism of the martyrs is a summons to us, here and now, to advance on the path to ever greater unity.
From the beginning, yours has been a Church of martyrs.  Today too, you are witnessing a devastating outbreak of violence against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East and in some parts of Africa.  We cannot fail, yet again, to implore those who govern the world’s political and economic life to promote a peaceful coexistence based on reciprocal respect and reconciliation, mutual forgiveness and solidarity.
Your country is making great strides to improve the living conditions of its people and to build an ever more just society, based on the rule of law and respect for the role of women.  I think in particular of the problem of access to water, with its grave social and economic repercussions.  There is great room for cooperation between the Churches in the service of the common good and the protection of creation.  I am certain of the readiness of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia to work together with the Orthodox Tewahedo Church over which Your Holiness presides.
Your Holiness, dear brothers and sisters, it is my fervent hope that this meeting will mark a new chapter of fraternal friendship between our Churches. We are conscious that history has left us with a burden of painful misunderstandings and mistrust, and for this we seek God’s pardon and healing.  Let us pray for one another, invoking the protection of the martyrs and saints upon all the faithful entrusted to our pastoral care.  May the Holy Spirit continue to enlighten us and guide our steps towards harmony and peace.  May he nourish in us the hope that one day, with God’s help, we will be united around the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the fullness of Eucharistic communion.  I pray to Mary, Mother of Mercy, for each of you, with words drawn from your own beautiful and rich liturgical tradition: “O Virgin, wellspring of the fountain of wisdom, bathe me in the streams of the Gospel of Christ your Son.  Defend me by his Cross.  Cover me with his mercy, gird me with his clemency, renew me with his unction and surround me with his fruits.  Amen”.
Your Holiness, may Almighty God abundantly bless your ministry in the service of the beloved people of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
Source: Vatican Radio (with some modifications) 

His Grace Abune Natnael rests

March 1, 2016
We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved father and dear shepherd, His Grace Abune Natnael, Archbishop of Arsi Diocese. In honor of His Grace Abune Natnael, it will be agreed to hold a funeral service on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at Debr Kidus Debre Me’aza Abune Tekle Haymanot monastery, located at Arsi, about 175 kilometers south of  Addis Ababa,  Ethiopia.

We pray to the Lord to repose the soul of His fervent servant, our beloved Archbishop Abune Nathnael, in the bosom of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The Statue of Abune Petros Returns to its Former Square

February 9, 2016
By Kassa Nigus  
The 9.3 tone statue of Abune Petros, the Ethiopian martyred Archbishop, returned back to its old place known as Abune Petros square on February 7, 2016 after the completion of the light rail transit project.

The statue of Abune Petros was relocated on April 2013 from its site to make way for the construction of the light trail tunnel underneath the square. Since then the statue was kept in the compound of the National Museum.

The re-installment ceremony was attended by His Holiness Abuna Matias, Patriarch of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot and Archbishop of Axum, H.E. Ato Deriba Kuma, Addis Ababa City Mayor, H.E. Aysha Muhammed (Eng.), Minister of Culture and Tourism,  Ato Yonas Desta, Director General of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Ato Gebre Tsadik Hagos, Head of Addis Abeba Culture and Tourism Bureau, Fikadu Haile (Eng.), Director General of Addis Ababa City Road Authority, and other invited guests.

Abune Petros’ statue was initially erected in 1941 in memory of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Archbishop who was executed on 29 July 1936 by the Italian occupation forces for publicly condemning colonialism, invasion and massacre. It is one of the 14 historical monuments in Addis Ababa.   

Historical records show that the Italian invaders tried to convince the martyred Archbishop to recognize their authority and stop denouncing the invasion in return for his release from detention. But, he refused saying, "The tears of my countrymen caused by your gas and your machines will never allow my conscience to accept your ultimatum. How could I stand before God if I do not condemn a crime of such magnitude?”

Later on, Abune Petros was sentenced to death. During his final moments, His Grace passed a message to the crowd gathered in Addis Ababa: “My countrymen do not believe the fascists telling you that the Patriots are bandits; the Patriots are people who are fighting to free us from the terror of fascism. Bandits are the soldiers who are in front of me and you, who have come from far, to terrorize and violently occupy a weak and peaceful country: our Ethiopia. God gives to the people of Ethiopia the strength to resist and never bow to the Fascist army and its violence. An Ethiopian land can never accept the orders of the invading army. Land of Ethiopia, I condemn you if you accept such an invasion.” Finally, Abune Petros was made to sit on a chair and was shot dead with eleven bullets by many Italian soldiers.

Eventually, memorial statues were erected in 1946 near St. George’s Churchl at the heart of Addis and at the back side of Addis Ababa Municipality. 


February 5, in featured news, news
According to the ‘Orthodoxy Cognate Page news’, 2016, currently, the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference approved a draft document of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church on Autonomy and the Ways of Declaring It.

The delegations of Orthodox Churches (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria; the Churches of Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Poland and the Czech Lands and Slovakia) in the conference considered the documents of the Pan-Orthodox Council, which had been edited by the Ad-Hoc Inter-Orthodox Commission at its sessions, held in Chambésy in October 2014, February and March-April 2015. Having taken into consideration the amendments proposed by the delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches, the Pan-Orthodox Conference approved the following documents: “The Orthodox Church’s Relations with the Rest of the Christian World” and “Importance of Fasting and Its Observance Today.”

The document “Contribution of the Orthodox Church to the Establishment of Peace, Justice, Freedom, Brotherhood and Love among Nations and Elimination of Racial and Other Forms of Discrimination” received a new name, “Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Modern World.”
The  draft document of the Pan-Orthodox Council, adopted by the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference in Chambésy on October, 10-17, 2015 which Published in compliance with the decision of the Synaxis of Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, Chambésy, January, 21-28, 2016 stated as follows; 
1. The Orthodox Church, being the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, in her profound ecclesiastical consciousness firmly believes that she occupies a central place in matters relating to the promotion of Christian unity within the contemporary world.

2. The Orthodox Church grounds her unity on the fact that she was founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as on the communion in the Holy Trinity and in the Sacraments. This unity is manifested through the apostolic succession and the patristic tradition and to this day is lived within her. It is the mission and duty of the Orthodox Church to transmit and proclaim the truth, in all its fullness, contained in the Holy Scripture and the Holy Tradition, the truth which gives to the Church her catholic character.
3. The responsibility of the Orthodox Church and her ecumenical mission with regard to the unity were expressed by the Ecumenical Councils. These, in particular, stressed the indissoluble link existing between true faith and the sacramental communion.

4. The Orthodox Church, which unceasingly prays “for the union of all,” has always promoted dialogue with those separated from her, both far and near, playing a leading role in seeking ways and means to restore the unity of believers in Christ, participating in the ecumenical movement since its inception, and contributing to its formation and further development. In addition, the Orthodox Church, due to the ecumenical spirit and love for mankind by which she is distinguished and in accordance with the divine dispensation to “have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4), has always fought for the restoration of Christian unity. Therefore, the Orthodox participation in the movement for the restoration of Christian unity does not run counter to the nature and history of the Orthodox Church. It is the consistent expression of the apostolic faith and Tradition in a new historical context.

5. The bilateral theological dialogues that the Orthodox Church conducts today, as well as her participation in the movement for the restoration of Christian unity, are grounded in her Orthodox consciousness and the spirit of ecumenicity, and are aimed at seeking the lost Christian unity on the basis of the faith and tradition of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

6. The unity by which the Church is distinguished in her ontological nature is impossible to shatter. The Orthodox Church acknowledges the existence in history of other Christian Churches and confessions which are not in communion with her, and at the same time believes that her relationships with them should be based on a speedy and more accurate elucidation by them of all ecclesiological topics, especially the teaching on Sacraments, grace, priesthood, and apostolic succession as a whole. Accordingly, for theological and pastoral reasons, she has been favorably disposed to dialogue with various Christian Churches and confessions, and to participation in the present-day ecumenical movement in general, in the belief that she thus bears her active witness to the plenitude of Christ’s truth and her spiritual treasures before those who are external to her, and pursuing an objective goal – to tread the path to unity.

7. It is in this spirit that today all the Holy Local Orthodox Churches take an active part in official theological dialogues, and most of them participate in the work of various national, regional and international inter-Christian organizations, despite a serious crisis in the ecumenical movement. Such manifold activities of the Orthodox Church derive from the sense of responsibility and from the conviction that mutual understanding, cooperation and common efforts towards Christian unity are of fundamental importance, so as not to “hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Cor 9:12).

8. While conducting dialogue with other Christians, the Orthodox Church by no means underestimates the difficulties arising from it, but is aware of the obstacles lying on the path to a common understanding of the tradition of the ancient Church. It is her hope that the Holy Spirit Who “welds together the whole institution of the Church” (Stichera at Vespers of Pentecost) “will heal what is infirm” (a prayer during ordination). In this regard, the Orthodox Church, in her relations with the rest of the Christian world, relies not only on the human efforts of those involved in the dialogue, but, by the grace of God who prayed “that… all may be one” (Jn 17:21), first and foremost, on the help of the Holy Spirit.

9. The participation in the current bilateral theological dialogues announced at the Pan-Orthodox Conferences is the result of a unanimous decision of all Holy Local Orthodox Churches whose duty is to always take an active and lasting part in their work so as not to interfere in the unanimous witness of Orthodoxy to the glory of the Triune God. In the event that a certain Local Church resolves not to send her representatives to a dialogue or its session, the dialogue continues, provided that this decision is not Pan-Orthodox. Prior to the dialogue or its session, an Orthodox commission must discuss the absence of the Local Church, thus expressing the solidarity and unity of the Orthodox Church.

10. The problems arising during theological discussions within joint theological commissions are not always sufficient grounds for a Local Orthodox Church’s unilateral recall of its representatives and withdrawal from dialogue. As a rule, it is necessary to avoid a Church’s withdrawal from dialogue and to make the necessary efforts on the inter-Orthodox level to ensure that the Orthodox theological commission participating in the dialogue is fully represented. Should one or more Orthodox Churches refuse to take part in the sessions of the joint theological commission of a certain dialogue for serious ecclesiological, canonical, pastoral and moral reasons, this Church, or these Churches, shall notify the Ecumenical Patriarch and all the Orthodox Churches in written form of their refusal, in compliance with pan-Orthodox practice. In the course of a subsequent pan-Orthodox discussion, the Ecumenical Patriarch shall seek a consensus of the Orthodox Churches as to what actions to follow, including the possibility of reevaluating the progress of that theological dialogue, should it be unanimously found necessary.

11. The methodology of conducting theological dialogues is aimed at overcoming traditional theological differences or at revealing possible new disagreements and seeking the common ground of the Christian faith. These methods imply that the entire Church is kept informed of the dialogue’s progress. In the event that it is impossible to overcome some theological difference, the theological dialogue may continue, while the discovered difference shall be recorded and brought to the notice of all the Local Orthodox Churches for further necessary action.
12. It is evident that the goal of all theological dialogues is the complete restoration of unity in true faith and love. However, the existing theological and ecclesiological differences make it possible to reveal a certain hierarchy of difficulties lying on the path towards attaining the objectives set at the pan-Orthodox level. The specificity of the problems of any bilateral dialogue points to the differentiation of applied methods, but not of goals, for all dialogues pursue one common goal.

13. If necessary, efforts should be made to coordinate the work of different inter-Orthodox theological commissions, considering that the indissoluble ontological unity of the Orthodox Church is to be revealed and manifested in this sphere as well.

14. Any officially declared dialogue ends with the completion of the relevant work of the Joint Theological Commission when the chairman of the Inter-Orthodox Commission submits a report to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who, with the consent of the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches announces the end of the dialogue. No dialogue is considered complete until the moment when a decision on its completion is announced on the pan-Orthodox level.

15. Upon the successful conclusion of a theological dialogue, a decision, based on the consensus of all Local Orthodox Churches, shall be made on the pan-Orthodox level, concerning the restoration of ecclesiastical communion.
16. One of the principal bodies in the history of the ecumenical movement is the World Council of Churches (WCC). Some of the Orthodox Churches were among the Council’s founding members, and later on all the Local Orthodox Churches became its members. As a structured inter-Christian body, the WCC, along with other inter-Christian organizations and regional bodies, such as the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Middle East Council of Churches, despite the fact that they do not include all Christian Churches and confessions, carry out an important mission, promoting the unity of the Christian world. The Georgian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches withdrew membership from the WCC: the former in 1997, and the latter in 1998. They have their own particular opinion on the work of the World Council of Churches and, hence, do not participate in the dialogues conducted by the WCC and other inter-Christian organizations.

17. The Local Orthodox Churches which are members of the WCC participate fully and equally in the structure of the World Council of Churches and with all the means at their disposal, contribute to the witness of truth and promotion of unity of Christians. The Orthodox Church hailed the WCC’s decision to respond to her request concerning the establishment of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, which was done in fulfillment of the mandate of the Inter-Orthodox Conference held in Thessaloniki in 1998. The Special Commission laid down the criteria proposed by the Orthodox and adopted by the WCC, which led to the establishment of the Permanent Commission for Consensus and Cooperation. The criteria were approved and included in the WCC Constitution and Rules.

18. Faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Orthodox Church, while organizationally participating in the WCC, does not accept the idea of the “equality of confessions” and cannot accept Church unity as an inter-confessional compromise. In this spirit, the unity which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreements alone; it must also be the fruit of a unified faith, sacramentally preserved and lived in the Orthodox Church.

19. The Orthodox member Churches of the WCC consider sine qua non for their participation in the WCC the key article of its Constitution which states that only those Churches and confessions that acknowledge Jesus Christ as God and Savior, according to the Scriptures, and believe in God glorified in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, according to the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, may become WCC members. It is their firm conviction that the ecclesiological presuppositions of the 1950 Toronto Statement on the Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches, are of paramount importance for Orthodox participation in the Council. It is therefore clear that the WCC is not and by no means can be a “super-Church.” “The purpose of the World Council of Churches is not to negotiate unions between Churches, which can only be done by the Churches themselves acting on their own initiative, but to bring the Churches into living contact with each other and to promote the study and discussion of the issues of Church unity” (Toronto Statement, § 2).

20. The prospects for conducting theological dialogues between the Orthodox Church and other Christian Churches and confessions shall always be derived from the canonical criteria of established Church Tradition (canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council and canon 95 of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council).
21. The Orthodox Church wishes to support the work of the Commission for Faith and Church Order and with particular interest follows its theological contribution to this day. On the whole, the Church has a favorable view of the theological documents adopted by the Commission with the participation of and valuable contribution from Orthodox theologians, regarding the adoption of those documents as an important step towards the rapprochement of Christians. However, the Orthodox Church does not express full agreement with the interpretation of fundamental issues of faith and order made in these documents.
22. The Orthodox Church believes that any attempts to shatter Church unity, undertaken by individuals or groups under the pretense of preserving or defending true Orthodoxy, must be condemned. As evidenced by the whole life of the Orthodox Church, the preservation of the true Orthodox faith is only possible thanks to the conciliar structure which since ancient times has been for the Church the strong and final criterion in matters of faith.

23. Common to the Orthodox Church is the awareness of the necessity for conducting inter-Christian theological dialogue and therefore believes that dialogue should always be accompanied by witness to the world through the acts of mutual understanding and love, which reflect the joy unspeakable of the Glad Tidings (1 Pt 1:8), excluding any practice of proselytism or any outrageous manifestations of inter-confessional antagonism. In the same way, the Orthodox Church deems it important that we all, Christians, inspired by common fundamental principles of our faith, make efforts to willingly give a unanimous response to those difficult problems posed to us by the contemporary world. This response is to be grounded in the ideal model of a new man in Christ.

24. The Orthodox Church is aware of the fact that the movement for the restoration of Christian unity takes new forms in response to new circumstances and new challenges. It is necessary that the Orthodox Church continues to bear her witness to the divided Christian world on the basis of the apostolic Tradition and her faith.

We pray that all Christians work together in order to bring nearer the day in which the Lord will fulfill the hope of the Orthodox Churches, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (Jn 10:16).


  • ‘Orthodoxy Cognate Page’, posted on February 3, 2016.  ( 
  • The Russian Orthodox Church, posted on    17.10.2015 11:45

540 Konso Community Members Baptized

February 2, 2016 
Though Christianity in Ethiopia dates to the 1st century AD as it clearly shown in the New Testament (Acts 8:26-38) when Philip the Evangelist converted an Ethiopian court official, the church still has been baptizing its new believers.

Currently, Gamo Gofa Diocese of Konso Wereda ministerial priesthood office under the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church baptized 540 members of Konso community on January 20, 2016. The new baptized members are residents of Abaroba, Doro, Arfayde, Akayle, Gulayde, Boyde, Madrya and Kashele local areas. 
The Diocese performed the baptismal ceremony in collaboration with Mahibere Kidusan’s Arba Minch branch office, Karat center and Campus fellow Christian students and Konso Wereda Ministerial Priesthood Office.

The Konso Diocese has made an effort to expand evangelization to new areas to preach the gospel of God and has been baptizing new believers. Mahibere Kidusan has been supporting for the success of the program in financing trainers (preachers), in establishing new Sunday schools, generate trainers for the new believer in their own tongue. 

 In addition to coordinating the baptismal service, Mahibere Kidusan provided clothings, traditional cotton shawl and neck cross to the newly baptized Christians during this baptizing ceremony.