Friday, November 21, 2008

Photos of Ethiopian Patriarch's Visit

Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church His Holiness Abba Paulos


His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas-I‏

20-21 November 2008

The Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church His Holiness Abba Paulos visits His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas I on a short visit - 20,21st November 2008. The group with 9 delegates consisting of 5 Bishops, 1 Monk 1 Priest and 2 Lay officials of the church reached Damascus on 20 November 2008 and met His Holiness at Mor Aphrem Seminary, Ma'arat Seydnaya. This is the first time His Holiness Abba Paulos visits His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas I. On 20 November 2008 morning H.H Abba Paulos accompanied by our H.H Zakka Iwas I, visited the president of Syria, Dr. Bashar Al Assad, who welcomed them warmly.

The Holy Ethiopian Orthodox Church with 45 million faithful in Ethiopia and 5 million in Diaspora, around 500000 clergy, 1200 monasteries etc., is a flourishing church. The church is one among the Oriental Orthodox family having full inter-communion with Holy Syriac Orthodox Church.

See the links below for a brief history of The Holy Ethiopian Orthodox Church :

Source of Photographs-: Rev. Dn. Joshy C Abraham

His Holiness Abba Paulos and the delegation with His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas I

His Holiness Abba Paulos and His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas I with president of Syria, Dr. Bashar Al Assad




on the occasion of the visit of


Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.


Your Holiness, Your Beatitude, Your Eminences the bishops, Reverent Clergy, all Members of the Delegation with His Holiness, and the Distinguished Guests, Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

It is our high pleasure and honour to welcome Your Holiness and your delegation, to our St. Aphrem the Syrian Monastery and Seminary here, in my name and on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch. Your Holiness has come from a very ancient Country of a great history of Christianity and cultures. As we read in chapter eight of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’, It is known that Christianity reached Ethiopia in the very first century AD itself. Our church is now blessed by this visit of the head of such a great and ancient church, and we all are now proud of hosting this visit. We are sure that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church is blessed by such an eminent, pious and scholarly person as its head. Your Holiness, we congratulate you and pray God to grant you sound health and long-life to shepherd your Holy Church for many more years to come.

Your visit to us, Your Holiness, brings to our mind the long history of relationship, which existed between our churches. Though the Ethiopian church has became an autocephalous church from the Coptic Orthodox church, in the last century, the relation between Syrian orthodox and the Copts is very ancient, and we thank God for enabling us to keep that relation in high esteem all through out the ages. One of the signs of this high esteem relation is that, the first bishop ordained for Ethiopia, believed to be in the year 329.AD, by saint Athanasios of Alexandria, was Abba Salama - being venerated as a saint in Ethiopia. His original name was Frumentius who was a Syrian deacon. As we understand, the direct relation between the Syrian Orthodox and the Ethiopian Orthodox churches dates back at least from the sixth century onwards. It is worth mentioning that the Ethiopian church remembers and celebrates the feasts of six Syrian fathers. Also many of the church doctrines and dogmas, and prayers of the Ethiopian church in Ge’ez language has close relation with those of Syriac language. We are indeed much delighted thus to note that, we are sister churches of the same family of Oriental Orthodox Churches, having full inter communion.

We are proud of you and your church. In the long course of her history, she has made the heritage which it received, her own, and even developed it in a unique way against the cultural and social background of Ethiopia. As our Syrian Orthodox church uses the ancient liturgical language of Aramaic, the Ethiopian church also has a well developed liturgical system in the language of Ge’ez. We are aware that the clergy and the faithful are very pious and dedicated to its faith, and to the great traditions of the church.

We pray God Almighty to grant us all, the grace to have better understanding and cooperation between our two Churches as well as among all the other Christian Churches and denominations. Let this visit of Your Holiness enhance and strengthen our relations and may it enable us to stand united to witness our Lord Jesus in this modern global situations. All the Christian churches have to stand more united, to face the challenges in front of us. In this age of increasing religious intolerances, dissociation of the younger generation from the ancient faiths, and the other painful situations of the world, like, increasing terrorism against Christianity, fundamentalism, increasing issues of refugees, displacements, poverty, etc., the churches have ever great missions to accomplish. Jesus Christ came to this world, to redeem the world and for granting justice to humanity. So church has to see that these missions are accomplished through it. Let us pray the Almighty to strengthen our churches to witness our Lord more effectively. May He enable us to stand as towers of light to humanity and for the world peace.

Also let us say a few words about our Syrian Orthodox church. Our forefathers have been citizens of this land from the very beginning of Christianity, and the members of our Syrian Orthodox Church have faithfully upheld their faith and religion up to the present times. We all live in full cooperation with other Christian Churches in this country and have good relations with our Muslim brothers and sisters also. Thanks to His Excellency the President of Syria, Dr. Bashar Al Asad, who loves all citizens regardless of religion. He is an ideal ruler and a great leader in this part of the world. We are glad that Your Holiness, the Patriarch of Ethiopia and Archbishop of Axum, and one of the seven presidents of WCC, has now came to visit us in this esteemed country of Syria, to witness all that you see here.

Your Holiness, we appreciate your visit to Syria and the visit to our Patriarchate. We consider this visit as a historical event. We hope that your visit will help a lot to promote the relations between our two Churches, for the glory of God. We, as two Patriarchs of the ancient sister Churches, live friendly, and let me say, as two brothers in Christ serving the Church of our Lord. Clergy of the two Churches too respect one another. They love each other and have to exchange the experiences of serving the faithful of their respective Churches. Through Your Holiness, we would like to convey our prayerful regards and high esteem for your church and our gratitude to our spiritual brothers - the members of your Holy Synod and the faithful of your church in Ethiopia and all over the world.

Let me conclude. Though this is a short visit, we would like to mention again that we are much happy to have Your Holiness and all Members of the Delegation with Your Holiness as our guests, and please feel at home. We assure you that we love you and we feel happy in your esteemed presence here and you are our brothers and sisters in Christ. May God Almighty bless us all, with peace and welfare. Thank you.

As a gesture of our brotherly love, I am happy to present to Your Holiness, a pastoral staff and a chain with pectoral cross. We would kindly request Your Holiness to come forward to accept this humble memento.

Ignatius Zakka I Iwas

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church


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