Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia visits Malankara

KOTTAYAM: His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church visits Malankara Orthodox Church from February 24-28, 2010.

Metropolitan Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios of the Thiruvanthapuram diocese visited the Armenian Catholicos at the Catholicate Palace in Antelias and extended the official invitation of the supreme head of the Malankara Church at the end of January 2010. The visit of Aram I to India is in response to this invitation.

The Holy See of Cilicia is one of two wings of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Since 1930, it has been headquartered in Antelias, Lebanon. Aram I has been the Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenian Church since 1995. Armenian Apostolic Church comes under the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The supreme head of the Armenian Church will reach Kochi on February 24 and will officially meet with Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, the Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan at his headquarters, Devalokam Aramana. Thereafter Aram I will participate in the banquet hosted by Baselios Marthoma Didymos I in honor of the visiting Catholicos.

His Holiness Aram I is Catholicos of the See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Antelias, Lebanon).

He was elected moderator of the WCC Central Committee at the Seventh Assembly (Canberra 1991) – the youngest person ever to be chosen for that position – and was re-elected at the Eighth Assembly (Harare 1998), and he is the first moderator to be re-elected since Franklin Clark Fry in 1961.

Ordained a priest in 1968, Aram Keshishian was named locum tenens of the diocese of Lebanon in 1978 and primate in 1979, and was ordained as a bishop in 1980. In 1995 he was elected Catholicos.

He has studied theology – specializing in philosophy, contemporary systematic theology and Middle Eastern church history – at his church’s theological seminary in Antelias, Lebanon, the Near East School of Theology (Beirut), the American University of Beirut, and Fordham University (New York), from which he earned a Ph.D. in theology. He also attended the WCC’s graduate school of ecumenical studies in Bossey, Switzerland, and has done theological research at Oxford University.

In 1975 he was named to the WCC Faith and Order Commission. He was a delegate to the WCC’s Sixth Assembly (Vancouver 1983), where he was elected to the Central Committee. He played an active role in the founding and re-structuring of the Middle East Council of Churches. He is a member of the Oriental-Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Bilateral Dialogues. He is an honorary member of Pro-Oriente, a Roman Catholic Ecumenical Foundation located in Vienna.

He has written a dozen books in Armenian and English about the Armenian Church and about ecumenical issues. An abridged version of his doctoral dissertation was published in 1990 under the title Conciliar Fellowship: A Common Goal (Geneva, WCC Publications, 1990). His most recent book is a collection of essays entitled The Challenge to be a Church in a Changing World (1997).

Feb.25 Thursday : Ecumenical leaders meet, Press meet . After Noon at Kolenchery
Feb. 26 Friday : Participate in the Holy Synod at Old Seminary. Face to face with Seminary Students. Evening at Puthuppally Church.
Feb. 27 Saturday: Participate in the Dukrono of Vattasseril Thirumeni at Old Seminary
Feb. 28. Sunday: Participate in the Holy Eucharist at Parumala Seminary
2pm Chenganoor Diocesan Silver Jubilee celebrations
6pm.Thiruvananthapuram Cathedral Church.
8pm attend the Banquet with Dignitaries and religious leaders.


Monday, February 8, 2010


The NGO “Light of Africa” of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, together with the Missionary Society of Heraklion, Crete, “Bridge of Love” and the Brotherhood of External Missions in Thessaloniki, with the blessing of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, gathered together dental and general medical equipment which will immediately be sent together with other items to the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown.

It is to be noted that in Sierra Leone, a suffering country in the west of Africa with thousands of victims of the past civil war, especially orphaned children with physical disabilities due to the landmines, there is significant missionary and humanistic work being done by Archimandrite Themistocles Adamopoulos and his colleagues, under the guidance and spiritual concern of the local Metropolitan of Accra, His Eminence Damaskinos.



On 2nd February 2010 His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, together with His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamasos and Orinis (Church of Cyprus), and Bishops Gabriel of Mareotis, Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria and Spyridon of Kanopos, officiated at the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Patriarchal Church of St Savvas the Sanctified in Alexandria, on the Feast Day of the Meeting of the Lord. During his homily he spoke of the significance theological content of the feast and also thanked the Holy Monastery of Kykkos in Cyprus and its Hegumen, Metropolitan Nikiphoros of Kykkos and Tyllyria, for their significant contribution during the renovation of the ancient monastery.

Following the Divine Liturgy His Beatitude received in his private office His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamasos and Orinis and the Reverend Protopresbyter Father Paraskevas Papamichael to whom he expressed the gratitude of the Church of Alexandria to the Church of Cyprus and its Primate His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of New Justinia and All Cyprus for their assistance to the missionary work in Africa.

He also received the renowned Diplomat His Excellency Mr. Christopher Lamb, Special Adviser on international relations of the Organization of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC). Mr Lamb informed His Beatitude about the historic path of the International Red Cross, its constitutional principles and its contemporary way of operation.

During this meeting the possibility of collaboration between the Federation of International Organizations of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC) and the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria were discussed at length, on the level of common humanistic work to the benefit of the people of the suffering African continent.

It is to be noted that, given the constitutional principles regarding impartiality and freedom of conscience governs the IFRC, for the first time since its inception (1863) the International Red Cross is examining the possibility of collaboration with a religious organization.

His Beatitude then hosted an official lunch in the Patriarchal Refectory in honour of his guests.


Metropolitan Mar Themothios Visited the Patriarch of the Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA: Metropolitan Dr. Mathews Mar Thimothios reached Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia on 18th January and visited Dr. Abuna Paulose I, the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan also participated in the national festival of Ethiopia, the feast of Epiphany (Timkat) on January19.

H.H. the Patriarch was the chief celebrant for the liturgical celebration of Epiphany held at Jan Meda. The members of the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Mar Themothios were cocelebrants for the feast.

Political Dignitaries, Ambassadors, Religious Dignitaries and a large number of tourists participated in that glorious event. More than 3 lakhs people attended the festival.

While in his speech, Metropolitan Mar Themothios conveyed the greetings of the Catholicose H.H. Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, in the public function held after the liturgical celebration.

Fr.Dr. Jossiu Jacob, Professor of Holy Trinity Theological College and Coordinating Vicar of the East African Congregations is also with the Metropolitan.

Metropolitan will visit important Monasteries, Churches and Cultural Centers in and around Addis Ababa today.


Friday, February 5, 2010

World's Oldest Monastery Restored

Egypt has completed the restoration of reputedly the world's oldest Christian monastery, called Saint Anthony's.

The monastery is believed to be 1,600 years old. The government-sponsored restoration project cost over $14m (£8.9m) and took more than eight years.

The monastery is a popular site for Coptic Christian pilgrims.

The restoration comes soon after Egypt's worst incident of sectarian violence in a decade, when six Copts were shot dead on Christmas Eve.

BBC's Cairo correspondent Yolande Knell says it is hoped the newly-restored monastery in Suez City will be held up as a sign of co-existence between Egypt's Muslim majority and Christian minority.

Solitary life

Speaking at the site, Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass stressed that restoration work at the monastery was carried out by Muslims.

"The announcement we are making today shows to the world how we are keen to restore the monuments of our past, whether Coptic, Jewish or Muslim," said Mr Hawass.

Saint Anthony settled in a cave in remote mountains close to the Red Sea at the end of the 3rd Century to live in isolation. When he died, his followers built the monastery and named it after him.

The project has restored an ancient wall, a tower, two main churches and the monks' quarters.


Clashes In Egyptian Town After Coptic Killings

Clashes have broken out in the southern Egyptian town where seven people died in a drive-by shooting outside a church after a Coptic Christmas Eve Mass.

A BBC correspondent in Cairo said protesters clashed with police at the hospital in the town of Naga Hamady.

The shooting happened as churchgoers left midnight Mass to welcome in the Coptic Christmas on 7 January.

The attack is thought to be in revenge for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian man.

Following the reported rape in November there were five days of riots in the town, with Christian properties set on fire and damaged.

The BBC's Yolande Knell, in Cairo, said more than 1,000 Christians had gathered at the hospital to collect the bodies of six of the victims.

Stones were thrown at security forces and ambulances were smashed as they vented their anger, she added.

Three people are reported to have pulled up outside the church in Naga Hamady on Wednesday evening, killing at least six Coptic Christians and a security official and injuring 10 others, including two Muslim passers-by.

Police say the chief attacker in Wednesday's shooting has been identified but no arrests have yet been made.

The church's Bishop Kirollos said there had been threats in the days leading up to the Christmas Eve service - a reason he decided to end his Mass an hour earlier than normal.

"For days, I had expected something to happen on Christmas Eve," he told the Associated Press.

He said he left the church minutes before the attack.

"A driving car swerved near me, so I took the back door," he said. "By the time I shook hands with someone at the gate, I heard the mayhem, lots of machine-gun shots."

Witness Youssef Sidhom told the BBC that the attack shocked everyone, including police guarding the church.

Harassment claims

Naga Hamady is 40 miles (64km) from Luxor, southern Egypt's biggest city.

Coptic Christians - who make up 10% of Egypt's 80 million population - have complained of harassment and discrimination.

Some Copts argue that previous attacks on them have gone unpunished or have resulted in light sentences.

Most Christians in Egypt are Copts - Christians descended from the ancient Egyptians.

Their church split from the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in AD451 because of a theological dispute over the nature of Christ, but is now, on most issues, doctrinally similar to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The BBC's Yolande Knell, in Cairo

Since the 1970s, when Islamic extremism began to increase in Egypt, there have been sporadic clashes between Muslims and members of the Coptic Christian minority.

The most serious cases are usually in poor, rural areas where the trigger is often a dispute over land or women, which spills over into sectarian violence. Whole communities can become involved.

Local authorities' handling of such cases is often criticised. Police are accused of delaying their response to reports of fighting and then simply arresting equal numbers of individuals from each faith.

Sometimes criminal investigations are dropped in favour of informal reconciliation meetings.


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