From the Worldwide Faith News archives

WCC NEWS: Coptic & Ethiopian Orthodox churches reconcile

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Thu, 19 Jul 2007 17:35:13 +0200

World Council of Churches - News Release

Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 For immediate release - 19/07/2007 04:12:12 PM


The "entire fellowship of the Word Council of Churches (WCC) rejoices" at a successfully culminated "process of healing and reconciliation" that involved two of the Council's founding members, stated WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in a letter welcoming the "historic achievement" today.

Through an agreement signed on Friday 13 July 2007 in Cairo, Egypt, and announced yesterday by the press office of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church have "solemnly declared their unity of faith, their commitment to common witness and their readiness to deepen and expand collaboration, leaving behind more than two decades of tensions," Kobia wrote.

In a letter to the heads of both churches, Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa and Abune Paulos, Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia and Archbishop of Axum, as well as to Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church (See of Cilicia), who played an instrumental role as mediator, Kobia affirmed that the event confirms that "true reconciliation among churches is possible".

The three heads of churches involved are "well known to the WCC fellowship of member churches as outstanding ecumenical leaders," the letter from Kobia says. Pope Shenouda III served as one of the WCC presidents from 1991-1998; Abune Paulos currently serves as one of the WCC presidents, having been elected in 2006. And Catholicos Aram I served as the WCC central committee moderator for two terms from 1991-2006.

The three churches belong to the Oriental Orthodox family, which also includes the Syrian, Indian and Eritrean churches. These churches have world-wide diaspora and are active in the ecumenical movement.

The full text of the WCC letter is available at:

Additional information on the agreement is available at the website of the Armenian Orthodox Church (See of Cilicia):

Additional information: Juan Michel, +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363

Sign up for WCC press releases at:

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 347 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.



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