Monu John Phillip – Special Envoy of the OCP Secretariat- OCP News Service – 8/2/16
Read- Reflections on the future of the Oriental Orthodox Communion
Global: The Secretariat of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (Pan-Orthodox Christian NGO-Movement) has called for Pan-Oriental Orthodox Council. On behalf of the Secretariat, an official letter signed by George Alexander and Varghese John Thottapuzha was send to the Primates of all Oriental Orthodox Churches. Both electronic and print copies have been dispatched to the below Prelates:
Coptic Orthodox Church
His Holines Tawadros II – Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
Syriac Orthodox Church
His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II – Patriarch of Antioch and All East
Armenian Orthodox Church
His Holiness Karekin II – Catholicos of All Armenians
His Holiness Aram I – Catholicos of the Greater House of Cilicia
His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian – Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem
His Beatitude Archbishop Aram Ateşyan – Armenian Co-Patriarch of Constantinople
Indian Orthodox Malankara Church
His Holiness Baselios Paulose II – Catholicos of the East
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
His Holiness Abune Mathias – Patriarch of Ethiopia
The Letter to Eritrean Orthodox Church will be send to their communities in UK and USA.
Read the Letter below
Your Holiness and Revered Members of the Holy Synod
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 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 will have their own great and holy council in 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.
Eritrean Orthodox Church: A unified decision should be made on detention of the Canonical Patriarch of Eretria. Sister Churches should check various methods to find a solution for the Church of Eretria and her faithful. The Oriental communion should act as a lobbying force to attain more international attention, thereby finding a solution for the human crisis in Eretria.
Schisms and Autonomy: There are schisms within the Oriental Orthodox communion that really worry us. We need to find a solution for lasting solution to strengthen brotherhood and concilliarity. A number of ‘Unrecognized’ Orthodox Churches that seek to enter in communion with Oriental Orthodoxy. If genuine, dialogues should be initiated with these churches. A common cannon can be developed for the entire Oriental Orthodox family to define various aspects of church life.
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.
Assyrian Churches: The historic relations between Oriental Orthodox family and the Assyrian Churches (Assyrian Church of the East and Ancient Church of the East) should be revived. We need to bring them more close to the Oriental Orthodox communion. A permanent commission for dialogue and cooperation with Assyrians should be installed.
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- OCP Secretariat