In Egypt with the Message of Fraternity

His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II attended the enthronement service of Pope Tawadros II, the Supreme head of the Coptic Orthodox Church at St. Mark's Cathedral, Cairo on 18th March, 2012 as a special invitee. His Holiness Theodore II, Alexandrian Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, His Holiness Ignatius Zakka Iwas I, the Patriarch of the Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II were the heads of the Churches who attended the Service. His Grace Abba Pakkomios, the Senior Metropolitan of the Coptic Orthodox Church was the chief celebrant at the service. Ecclesiastical dignitaries like His Holiness Ignatius Zakka lwas I, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, His Holiness Theodore II and Cardinal Koch from the Catholic Church congratulated the new Pope at the meeting which followed the enthronement service. The delegates of Syrian and Armenian Churches recited hymns after their words of felicitation. There was no participation of the sister Churches in the enthronement service except the chanting of some prayers by the Bishops of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church during the blessing of the vestments as per the protocol. The new Pope celebrated Holy Eucharist after the enthronement. All Metropolitans from the Oriental Churches received Holy Communion. His Holiness the Catholicos and the newly installed Pope had a meeting for one hour in the evening on 18th March. The Catholicos handed over his prayerful greetings to the new Pope to give brave leadership to the Coptic Church which faces severe persecutions in the changed political situations in Egypt. The delegates from the Eritrean Orthodox Church also had an exclusive meeting with the Catholicos on 19th morning. They shared the agonies and concerns of the Church on the backdrop of various hurdles and problems on account of the recent political circumstances and asked for the prayer and co-operation of our Church. In a meeting of the heads of all the Churches, the Catholicos spoke about the need for working together in the changed political and social scenario of the world in general and the Middle East in particular. The ecclesiastical dignitaries like His Eminence Theophilos George Sleeba Metropolitan (Holy Episcopal Synod Secretary, Syrian Orthodox Church), His Eminence Nareg Metropolitan (President, Ecumenical Relations Department, Armenian Orthodox Church), His Eminence Sarkisian Metropolitan (Bishop of Armenian Orthodox Church in Baghdad), His Eminence Abune Nathaniel (Interim Patriarch, Ethiopian Orthodox Church), His Eminence Abba Seraphim (Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Church), Mrs. Tara Curlewis (General Secretary, Churches together in Australia), Dr. Johann Marte (President, Pro-Oriente) attended the banquet hosted by the Catholicos and the ecumenical meeting that followed organized by the Malankara Orthodox Church. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church delegations lead by the senior Metropolitan His Eminence Abune Nathaniel met the Catholicos. The ecclesiastical heads from both the Churches expressed their wish to find out more arenas of fraternal relations as the two apostolic Churches which existed beyond the frontiers of the Roman Empire.

Fr. Abraham Thomas,  Secretary, Ecumenical Relations Department, Indian Orthodox Church