The Shepherd of the Indian Church in Ethiopia

Abune Mathias, the 63rd Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot and the 6th Patriarch Catholicos of Ethiopia was enthroned on 3rd March 2013 amidst prayers of millions of people. The Patriarchal enthronement service began when the Patriarch designate and other Metropolitans entered the Holy Trinity Cathedral in a procession. The preparatory service of the Eucharist began after the Patriarch designate, in ordinary attire was made to sit on a throne placed just below the Santuary in ordinary attire. On his left, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II and on right, Abune Nathaniel, the interim Patriarch and senior Metropolitan were seated. The Patriarchal enthronement service started immediately after the reading of the Evangelion (Gospel) in the Eucharistic service which followed the preparatory service. The candidate was put on the vestments and the crown reciting prayers. The enthronement service ended when the new incumbent was given the Staff and Cross. Following the short prayers of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the new Patriarch completed the remaining part of the Holy Eucharist (from the reading of the Gospel). Following the demise of His Holiness Abune Paulose, the Ethiopian Patriarch on 10th August 2012, the Church with a strength of 50 million people had elected Abune Mathias, Arch Bishop of Jerusalem as the Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church (28th February 2013). After the enthronement service, there was a meeting to felicitate the new Patriarch. In his keynote speech at the function, the Catholicos reiterated the ancient relation between the nations of India and Ethiopia and the Church of Ethiopia and Malankara. He also underlined the need for meaningful cooperation in the fields of theological education and pastoral work. The Catholicos also decorated the new Patriarch with three chains with cross. The Catholicos visited His Holiness Abune Mathias on the previous and succeeding days of enthronement and made long discussion with him. His Holiness invited the Patriarch to visit India. The dinner hosted by the Catholicos on 2nd March was attended by 30 representatives from various Churches. Abba Bishoy, the Head of the Ecumenical Department of the Coptic Church while proposing the vote of thanks extolled the contribution made by Malankara Orthodox Church in the ecumenical field. He also added that all are eagerly looking forward to the theological dialogue between the Catholics and the Oriental Orthodox Churches to be hosted by the Malankara Orthodox Church in 2014. The Ethiopian Government gave great importance to the Catholicos' visit. The only foreign delegate who was mentioned by name by official television channel which telecast the enthronement ceremony extensively was the Catholicos. The delegation included H. G. Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, H. G. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros, Rev. Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konatt, Rev. Fr. Dr. Josi Jacob, Rev. Fr. Abraham Thomas, Rev. Dn. Jiss Johnson and Mr. Jacob Mathew Kulanjikombil. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest Church among the Oriental Orthodox Churches with whom the Malankara Orthodox Church has communion. His Holiness Abune Mathias is the supreme head of the Church which has 50 million members spread over 56 dioceses with 60 bishops and 400,000 priests.

Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios Metropolitan,  President, Ecumenical Relations Department