Dr Ajesh T Phillip (OCP Delegate of the Indian Sub-continent)
OCP News Service – 22/11/16
Kottayam-Kerala-India: A Delegation of the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (Pan-Orthodox Christian NGO Movement) met His Holiness Abune Mathias – Patriarch of Ethiopia and delegation from the Church of Ethiopia at Catholicate Palace on 21/11/16. The Delegation of OCP consisted of K C Jacob (Chairman), Verghese John Thottapuzha ( Chief Adviser to the Executive Council on Oriental Orthodox & Assyrian Church Affairs), Dr. Kurien Thomas ( Senior Research Associate), Abraham P Koshy (OCP Treasurer).
Fr Jossi Jacob (IMOC Delegate and Faculty at Holy Trinity College) introduced the delegation. A special request on Oriental Orthodox Christian unity was submitted to the Patriarch by the OCP Delegation.
K C Jacob and Verghese John spoke few words during the occasion. The first Indian icon of St Peter of St Thomas (written by Fr Bobby Varghese) was presented to Abune Mathias. Rest of the delegation members were presented with the OCP icon of St Gregorius of Parumala. This is the second meeting of OCP Delegation with Patriarch Abune Mathias. In 2013, OCP Secretary George Alexander met His Holiness Abune Mathias at the Ethiopian Patriarchate.
Read the Request Submitted to the Patriarch
His Holiness Abune Mathias
Sixth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia,
Archbishop of Axum and Ichege of the See of Saint Taklehaimanot
Let us take this blessed opportunity to make our humble suggestions on the communion of the ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches.
We strongly believe that the Eastern Orthodox Churches (EO) and the Oriental Orthodox Churches (OO) are the true heirs to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which was the Church of the apostles and the holy fathers, which is the living body of Jesus Christ in the World. It is very important to have close ties and cooperation between the two Orthodox families aiming at full communion, brotherhood, and love.
We understand that higher level of cooperation can be exercised between the Oriental Orthodox Churches. We hereby submit a number of humble suggestions for the overall benefit of the Oriental Orthodox family.
Pan-Oriental Orthodox Council: All Oriental Orthodox prelates came together on a single platform during the great and holy Addis Ababa Conference held in1965. The decisions made in the Addis Ababa conference have not been realized yet. It was 50th anniversary of the Addis Ababa Conference in 2015. Eastern Orthodox Churches organized their own great and holy council in early 2016. The 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide brought together Oriental Primates, but no major announcements were made. The Oriental Orthodox Churches should think and organize a Pan-Oriental Orthodox council to discuss and redefine our future. Organizing a Pan-Oriental Orthodox council has a lot of relevance in the present scenario.
International Headquarters and Secretariat for Oriental Orthodox Churches: A world association for OO churches can be developed with a full-fledged secretariat/headquarters at a desirable location. It should consist of a good administrative organization with a strong financial background and with a solid focus of implementing programs and projects developed to benefit the members of OO churches. National level councils and local councils can be developed under the global headquarters. Annual/timely meetings of OO primates and delegates can be organized to promote and ensure solid and intimate relations among all sister churches. Various organizations like youth forums and clergy councils can developed. Steps should be taken to resolve any existing disputes between the OO churches by creating practical protocols and mediating compromises to avoid disputes in the future.
Education and Mission Activities: Establishment of an international University, Academy, and a Research Centre for theological and secular education (with special emphasis on Orthodox Christian Research, Human Resource Development, Leadership, Morality, Music, etc.) shall be given priority. There should be opportunities for mutual exchanges of faculty members, and students for internship programs. Providing mutual cooperation in mission fields and a common Oriental Orthodox Mission Training Centre can be initiated. There is a big need to develop inter- Orthodox centres of theology, exchange of resources. Developing OO chairs and study centres in secular universities, even though there are several quality centres like SOAS, Coptic study centres, Armenian Theological Faculty at the Yerevan University.
Oriental – Eastern Orthodox Dialogue for Unity: There is the need for a common platform for regular dialogues between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches for communion in the faith as the continuation of the existing agreements. The halted dialogue process should be revamped. An international council should be established for the purpose of resuming official dialogue at regular intervals of time, quick and timely follow-ups of its results, encouragement of mutual visits, cooperation in theological education, mission-work development organizations, and other areas of common interest.
Social Justice, Poverty, War, and Persecution: A unified declaration on social justice, poverty eradication, persecution of minorities, preventing war should be made. Pan-Oriental Orthodox projects should be implemented to meet needs of ailing communities.
Youth and Women: We need to bring Oriental Orthodox youth and women on a common platform and provide them with increased role in church affairs. They have to get exposed more to Pan-Orthodox unity affairs.
Tourism and Cultural Exchange: This remains an unexplored area for Oriental Orthodox Christians. There is huge potential in developing inter-oriental orthodox tour and cultural exchange programs. This will help faithful to get more exposure to the life, culture and traditions of their own sister Oriental Orthodox churches.
Ecumenical Relations: Ecumenical relations with Roman Catholics, Anglicans, WCC, MECC and other inter-Christian and inter-faith bodies are worth appreciable. May the ecumenical movements bring fruits of true Christian unity.
(Secretary & Spokesperson)
Varghese John Thottapuzha
(Director – Dept. of Publications
&Chief Adviser to the Executive Council on Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Church Affairs)
The OCP Secretariate Comprises of the below Members:
(Secretary and Spokesperson
Director- Dept. of External Church Relations)
(Director- Dept. of Public Relations)
Kisha D Dorado
(Director- Dept of Church Research & Studies)
(Delegate of Gulf, LeVant and Middle East)
Abraham P Koshy
(Director – Dept of Finance)
Varghese John Thottapuzha
(Director – Dept. of Publications&
Chief Adviser to the Executive Council on Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Church Affairs)
Monu John Phillip
(Special Envoy of the Secretariat)
OCP News Service