How to Solve the Problem between two Orthodox Churches in India ?












In India, there is a quarrel going between two sister churches. Please comment positive ideas about this issue , how solve the problem between two Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Oriental Orthodox-Anglican Agreed Statement on the Holy Spirit


The historic Agreed Statement between Anglican and Oriental Orthodox theologians on the Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit has been published. The statement was signed last October after lengthy discussions by members of the Anglican Oriental-Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC). It was published at this year’s meeting of AOOIC, which took place last week in Lebanon. The agreed statement is part of a series of work which has helped to heal the oldest continuing division within Christianity, a schism that goes back centuries. At the core of Agreed Statement is the controversial Filioque clause – appended to the Nicene Creed by the Latin Western tradition causing a schism between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the western Churches that was inherited by the Anglican tradition. The clause says that the Holy Sprit proceedes “from the Son” (Jesus) as well as the Father. The Agreed Statement says that Anglicans should omit the clause.
This year’s meeting took place just weeks after the death of Metropolitan Bishoy, the Oriental Orthodox Co-Chair of the dialogue. Metropolitan Bishoy co-signed the statement at last year’s meeting alongside the Anglican Co-Chair, the Bishop of St Asaph Gregory Cameron. The published Statement has been dedicated to Metropolitan Bishoy, “monk, bishop, theologian, champion of the Orthodox faith and unity of the Church.”
At this year’s meeting, the Coptic Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos, was unanimously elected as the Oriental Orthodox Co-Chair – a move welcomed by the Anglican members.
This year’s meeting was dominated by work on “Authority in the Church” with discussions on bishops and synods (councils), and the Ecumenical Councils. “It seeks to draw on established ecumenical agreements in the framework of this Commission, and the distinctive characteristics of the two families of Churches”, the communiqué said. “The Commission hopes to finalise and make available the fruits of its work on Ecumenical Councils in 2019.”
Two bishops of Aleppo abducted in April 2013, Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi of the Greek (Rüm) Orthodox Church of Antioch, continue to be missing. The Commission remembered the two in their prayers.
They heard about the “present critical situation of Christians in the Middle East”, particularly in Iraq and Syria, from Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia.
“The Commission was acutely mindful that its meeting took place in Lebanon, itself home to over a million of refugees from war and conflict in the region”, the Communiqué said. “The Commission holds before the wider oikumene the costly witness of the Churches in this country, offered in love and service to the dispossessed and the victims of war.”
And in an expression of the global nature of Church communions, the communiqué said that members of AOOIC “recognise that it is no longer a question of speaking of the Churches of ‘the East’ or of ‘the West’, as we have become truly global communities.
“Moreover, today we experience one another in different regional contexts and share together in Christian witness and civic engagement in a wide range of countries where Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox are living together.”




Source:www..anglicannews..org

Homily of Pope Francis for beginning of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Today marks the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in which all of us are asked to implore from God this great gift. Christian unity is a fruit of God’s grace, and we must dispose ourselves to accept it with generous and open hearts. This evening I am particularly pleased to pray together with representatives of other Churches present in Rome, and I offer them a fraternal and heartfelt greeting. I also greet the ecumenical delegation from Finland, the students of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, who are visiting Rome to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Church. My greeting also goes to the young Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox students sponsored by the Committee for Cultural Collaboration with Orthodox Churches of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The Book of Deuteronomy sees the people of Israel encamped in the plains of Moab, about to enter the land that God promised them. Here Moses, as a kind father and the leader appointed by the Lord, repeats the Law to the people, and instructs and reminds them that they must live with fidelity and justice once they have been established in the Promised Land. The passage we have just heard shows how to celebrate the three main feasts of the year: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks), Sukkot (Tabernacles). Each of these feasts requires Israel to give thanks for the good things received from God. The celebration of a feast calls for everyone’s participation. No one is to be excluded: “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place which the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there” (Deut 16:11). Each of these feasts requires a pilgrimage to the “place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there” (v. 2). There the faithful Israelite must come before God. Though the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt, lacking personal possessions, they are not to “appear before the Lord empty-handed” (v. 16); the gift of each is to correspond to the blessing received from the Lord. In this way, all will receive their share of the country’s wealth and will benefit from God’s goodness. It should not surprise us that the biblical text passes from the celebration of the three principal feasts to the appointment of judges. The feasts themselves exhort the people to justice, stating that all are fundamentally equal and all equally dependent on God’s mercy. They also invite all to share with others the gifts they have received. Rendering honour and glory to the Lord in these yearly feasts goes hand in hand with rendering honour and justice to one’s neighbour, especially the weak and those in need. The Christians of Indonesia, reflecting on the theme chosen for this Week of Prayer, decided to draw inspiration from these words of Deuteronomy: “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (16:20). They are deeply concerned that the economic growth of their country, driven by the mentality of competition, is leaving many in poverty and allowing a small few to become immensely wealthy. This jeopardizes the harmony of a society in which people of different ethnic groups, languages and religions live together and share a sense of responsibility for one another. But that is not simply the case in Indonesia; it is a situation we see worldwide. When society is no longer based on the principle of solidarity and the common good, we witness the scandal of people living in utter destitution amid skyscrapers, grand hotels and luxurious shopping centres, symbols of incredible wealth. We have forgotten the wisdom of the Mosaic law: if wealth is not shared, society is divided. Saint Paul, writing to the Romans, applies the same thinking to the Christian community: those who are strong must bear with the weak. It is not Christian “to please ourselves” (15:1). Following Christ’s example, we are to make every effort to build up those who are weak. Solidarity and shared responsibility must be the laws that govern the Christian family. As God’s holy people, we too constantly find ourselves on the threshold of entering the Lord’s promised kingdom. Yet, since we are also divided, we need to recall God’s summons to justice. Christians too risk adopting the mentality known to the ancient Israelites and contemporary Indonesians, namely that in the pursuit of wealth, we forget about the weak and those in need. It is easy to forget the fundamental equality existing among us: that once we were all slaves to sin, that the Lord saved us in baptism and called us his children. It is easy to think that the spiritual grace granted us is our property, something to which we are due, our property. The gifts we have received from God can also blind us to the gifts given to other Christians. It is a grave sin to belittle or despise the gifts that the Lord has given our brothers and sisters, and to think that God somehow holds them in less esteem. When we entertain such thoughts, we allow the very grace we have received to become a source of pride, injustice and division. And how can we then enter the promised kingdom? The worship befitting that kingdom, the worship demanded by justice, is a celebration that includes everyone, a feast in which gifts received are available to and shared by all. To take the first steps towards the promised land that is our unity, we must first of all recognize with humility that the blessings we have received are not ours by right, but have come to us as a gift; they were given to be shared with others. Then, we must acknowledge the value of the grace granted to other Christian communities. As a result, we will want to partake of the gifts of others. A Christian people renewed and enriched by this exchange of gifts will be a people capable of journeying firmly and confidently on the path that leads to unity.


Source: www..vaticannews..va,

Abba Seraphim welcomes Acting Armenian Patriarch to Greenwich

On 27 March Abba Seraphim was delighted to welcome His Eminence Archbishop Aram Ateshian, General Vicar (Acting Patriarch) of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople to the British Orthodox Church Secretariat at Charlton and to take him on a tour of some of the religious and historical  sites of Greenwich. His Eminence was visiting London for a few days and was accompanied by Father John Whooley, with whom he was staying during his visit. Accompanied by Mr Trevor Maskery, Abba Seraphim met the Archbishop at Greenwich Pier and the party lunched together before touring Greenwich.
The first site was St. Alfege’s Parish Church, where they prayed at the memorial marking the place of the saint’s martyrdom a thousand years ago. After this they visited the Old Royal Naval College (now Greenwich University) beginning with the Painted Hall and concluding with the fine chapel, where they were received by the chaplain, Rev’d Jeremy Frost. They then drove into Greenwich Park to view the Royal Observatory and the fine views across London. After this they drove to Charlton where Abba Seraphim introduced Archbishop Aram to his three resident aquatic Van Cats: Hripsime, Shoushan and Senekerim. They later discussed matters of mutual interest, before dining together in the evening.
Source http://britishorthodox.org/news-events/

Coptic patriarch passes away

The patriarch of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, has passed away after battling liver and lung problems for several years.


Church sources said the health condition of the Coptic patriarch deteriorated on Saturday morning after he suffered a severe heart attack. 

The pope's medical team tried to revive him but did not succeed, and the spiritual leader died at the age of 89, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported. 

The Coptic Orthodox Church announced a state of mourning over the pope's death. It said the funeral prayer would be held on Tuesday at the papal headquarters in the Abbassiya district of Cairo. 

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayib, the grand imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, said, "Egypt has lost one of its rare men at a sensitive moment when it most needs the wisest of its wise -- their expertise and their purity of minds." 

"He held the question of al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Palestinian problem in his [conscience]," Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayib said.

Mohamed Mursi, the chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said Pope Shenouda made a long journey of service during the nation's history. 

"The Freedom and Justice Party sends its deepest condolences to the Egyptian people and our Christian brothers over the death of Pope Shenouda III," he said in a statement. 

A Vatican spokesman said Pope Benedict was immediately informed of Shenouda's death and offered prayers for him. 

"The Catholic Church joins Christians in their pain and prayer over the death... of their spiritual leader," he said. 
Source:- http://www.presstv.ir/detail/232234.html

Reflections on Christians in the Middle East


As one of their Lenten speakers, the chaplaincy of Morden College, Blackheath, invited Abba Seraphim to reflect on the current situation 0f Christians in the Middle East. Addressing a large audience on 8 March, Abba Seraphim outlined the problems of Christians in Iraq, Syria and Egypt since the Millennium and took the decline in the historic Christian communities in Iraq as a warning to the Christian world of how fragile they have now become. The problems faced by each country were each quite distinctive and owed much to their respective histories since the break up of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of militant fundamentalists. He emphasised the significance of Egypt, with the largest Christian community in the Middle East and the dynamic life of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the face of continuing sectarian attacks. Following a number of thoughtful questions from the audience, the Rev’d Nick Woodcock, chaplain, invited Abba Seraphim to lead the audience in prayer for the Christians of the Middle East.
Source:-http://britishorthodox.org/3138/reflections-on-christians-in-the-middle-east/

Mor Michael Rabo: Biography

Mor Mikhayel Rabo (St. Michael the Great) was born, in 1126 AD, in Melitine (Malatya, Turkey) which was one of the famous Archdioceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch at that time. His birth took place during the reign of Patriarch Mor Athanasius VII Abu Al-Faraj, son of Kamoor (1091-1129 AD). Patriarch Athanasius was said to be perfect in all virtues and a great scholar. Because of his passion for knowledge and virtue, the Patriarch ordained the great scholar Malphono Sayd Ibn Al-Sabouni as Metropolitan of Melitine, who, in less than forty days after his ordination, was martyred at the hands of Gabriel, the unjust and brutal Byzantine ruler of Melitine. The latter accused him of some political matter of which the Metropolitan was as innocent as the wolf was of the blood of the son of Jacob. Further, Patriarch Athanasius himself suffered severe hardships in administering the Church internally as well as externally.
During his youth, Michael was raised in a Syrian home from which the sweet fragrance of Christ emanated. His father, Elia of Melitine, was a virtuous and pious priest and a descendent of the Qandasi family which produced many servants for the Church. Among them were Athanasius Zakka, Metropolitan of Ayn Zarba (+1166); Patriarch Michael the Great's uncle, Maphryono(Catholicos) Gregorios Yacoub; and Patriarch Michael II Junior, the nephew of Mor Michael the Great, also known as Yeshou Sephtono.
Young Michael became a monk at Mor Barsawmo's Monastery near Melitine, after which he was ordained a priest and appointed Abbot of the monastery. During his term as Abbot, he made arrangements to bring running water to the monastery. When the Patriarchal See became vacant following the death of Patriarch Athanasius VIII, the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, consisting of eighteen Metropolitans, convened in the Monastery of Fesqeen near Gargar on Pentecost Day. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Synod elected unanimously Raban Michael to the Patriarchate of the Apostolic See of Antioch. When Raban Michael learned of this, he ran away and disappeared as he thought he was unworthy of this most exalted position. However, Mor Dionysius Ya`qub Bar Salibi, Metropolitan of Amid (+1171) and one of the Holy Synod's members persuaded him to perform his duty. On Tuesday, October 18, 1166, Michael was consecrated Patriarch at Mor Barsawmo's Monastery with the laying on of the hands of the Maphryono along with twelve other bishops. The new Patriarch passed thirty-one laws in the Monastery of Hananya.
Among the most glorious pastoral works of Patriarch Mor Michael the Great was the moving of the headquarters of the Patriarchal See of Antioch from Amid to Mor Hananya Monastery, known as "Zafaran". On the day of his arrival at this Monastery and the celebration of his enthronement on the Patriarchal Seat in the new headquarters, Metropolitan Mor Dionysius Ya`qub Bar Salibi delivered a fascinating speech that began with "My beloved, today is the day of joy; today is the day of delight". In his invaluable speech he enumerated the praiseworthy virtues of Patriarch Michael.
Patriarch Michael paid Apostolic visits to his Archdioceses that were widespread at that period of time. In 1168, he headed for Jerusalem and stayed at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene near Damascus Gate (Bab al-caamuud). There he consecrated the Holy Murun (Chrism) and ordained John (Yohanna) as Metropolitan for Damascus on Easter day. He then returned to the headquarters of his Apostolic See at the Monastery of Hananya. There he passed a number of ecclesiastical canons, as reported by the great scholar Maphryono Mor Gregorios Bar Ebroyo. He also held a Synod meeting in 1169 at Mor Barsawmo's Monastery. In the following year, Emperor Manuel dispatched a messenger named Theoryanos to the Syrians and Armenians. Patriarch Mor Michael answered him through John, bishop of Khayshum, and the monk Theodoros Bar Wahbun.
In 1180 AD, Mor Michael held another Synod meeting where Theodoros Bar Wahbun of Melitine was excommunicated. Although Bar Wahbun was a great scholar, he was arrogant and devoid of godliness and fear of God. Bar Wahbun rebelled against his superior and was later ordained as anti-Patriarch by four castaway bishops. Although he was a disciple of Patriarch Michael the Great and was educated in the Patriarchal house, Bar Wahbun denied the favor of Michael, and in the end, was excommunicated and dislodged. Bar Wahbun died in 1193.
Mor Michael wrote a book on the ranks of priesthood, liturgical texts on preparing for receiving the Holy Qurbono (Eucharist), the duties of man, how to be a disciple of Jesus, and the need for repentance and confession.
Following his consecration and according to the ancient custom followed by the Syrian and Coptic Churches, Patriarch Michael sent a letter of fellowship to the Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Yohanna I Ibn Abi Ghalib, known as Aba Al-Majd, in which he included his confession of faith. He also authored another letter to Yuhanna's successor, the Alexandrine Pope Mark III Ibn Zar'ah, on the Sacrament of Confession. This is the Sacrament that was rejected by the heretic Mark Ibn Qanbar the blind who created confusion in the minds of the children of the sister Coptic Church for a long time by his false teaching. In doing so, Ibn Qanbar had renewed the heresy of the followers of Origen and the Messalians. Patriarch Mor Michael the Great refuted the weak reasoning of Ibn Qanbar as well as his false teachings, proving the necessity of practicing the Holy Sacrament of Confession. He also supported the excommunication of Ibn Qanbar and his abhorrent heresy.
Patriarch Michael ordained one Maphryono and fifty-four bishops. He departed to the Heavenly Chambers on Monday, the seventh day of Second Tishrin (November) in the year 1199, at the age of seventy-three, thirty-three of which he was Patriarch. He was buried in the new church at Mor Barsawmo's Monastery in the tomb that he had prepared for himself.
Indeed, the life of the commemorated Patriarch Mor Michael the Great, was one of righteousness and holiness. He led the life of the good confessors who were persecuted for the sake of righteousness following the example of most of the Patriarchs and many bishops of our Holy Church. Likewise, he was an honorable scholar and renowned researcher. Patriarch Ephrem Barsoum describes him as "one of the greatest pontiffs of the Church of God, the finest of the Patriarchs of Antioch, a scholar, and a famous chronicler; of everlasting name, of graceful pursuit, and of uncommon qualities, of widely known virtues, and of good deeds". Patriarch Barsoum converses with him saying, "Is it not right for the general history of the world to remember your honorable name since you have written those volumes that are full of the events of the ages, from their inception until your happy reign, for you have brought to life what took place, and had it not been for you, these would have been totally forgotten? Indeed, it is befitting to do so for the world in general and for your nation in particular. Your greatness is manifest not only in this, but also in the fact that you were magnificent in your virtues, endurance and self-esteem. You were great in your Patriarchal works. It is no wonder that history describes you as The Great".
The late Patriarch left behind several of his books, the most famous of those is "THE RELIGIOUS AND GENERAL CIVIL HISTORY FROM THE CREATION UP TO THE YEAR 1193". This was wrote in Syriac and comes in several volumes. A unique manuscript of this great work is kept to this day in a book-case at St. George's Church in the Syrian Quarter (hay al-suryaan) of Aleppo. Another famous writing of the late Patriarch was the book on the ranks of priesthood, liturgical texts on preparing for receiving the Holy Qurbono (Eucharist), the duties of man, how to be a disciple of Jesus, and the need for repentance and confession.  He spent his day in looking after Church matters and in transcribing significant manuscripts; he devoted the night to the writings of letters. He transcribed Gospel on vellum in the Estrangelo script, gilded its pages and bound it with a silver cover. (It was the Syriac bible written during the time of Mor Michael Rabo and which was kept in Malankara, that was presented to Dr. Buchanan during his visit to the Church in Malabar in 1807. This one is now preserved in the British library).

Patriarch Mor Michael Rabo has compiled all the hymns of St. Ephraim and Jacob of Sarug in several copies, which he transcribed personally. Also he marked the service books of ordinations, principal festivals and prayers with diacritical points with great care and preserved them in one huge volume. Several other books are there written by this great Patriarch.

Source:- http://www.syrianchurch.org