Mark Centre, Nasr City
the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
H.H. Pope Shenouda
III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark,
H.H. Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch and
all the East and H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Great
House of Cilicia of the Armenian Orthodox Church, and the members of the
Standing Committee H.E. Metropoolitan Bishoy, H.G. Bishop Moussa, H.E.
Metropolitan Theophilus George Saliba, H.E. Metropolitan Elia Bahy, H.E.
Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, and H.G. Bishop Nareg Alemezian, who are
with us, give thanks to God for bringing us together once again in the
context of this meeting of the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches
in the Middle East, 20-21 October 2004 at St. Mark Centre, Nasr City,
Throughout history, we lived
a concrete unity in faith, theology and doctrines. We experienced our
oneness through the first three Ecumenical Councils of Nicea 325,
Constantinople 381, and Ephesus 431. We continue to live our unity of
faith through church life, and in inter-church and ecumenical relations.
In this seventh
meeting we had long discussions on many topics and issues and hereby we
present our summary of our deliberations.
I. Inter-Church Relations and Bilateral Dialogues
Oriental Orthodox Churches-Eastern Orthodox Churches
We are saddened
by the tragic passing of His Beatitude Petros VII the Greek Orthodox
Patriarch of Alexandria and all
Africa who was a sincere friend to our family of churches and a distinct
church leader committed to work for orthodox unity.
We extend our
congratulations to H.B. Theodoros II Greek Orthodox Patriarch of
Alexandria and all
Africa for his election and
upcoming enthronement and wish him a fruitful ministry.
We have been
informed about the discussions that occurred between Metropolitan Bishoy
(co-chairman of theological dialogue) and the monks of the Monastery of
St. Gregory in Mount Athos, Greece, concerning the Agreed
Statements between the two families of Orthodoxy (1989 and 1990). In the
context of his discussions Metropolitan Bishoy presented four papers.
His Eminence received an extensive written response exposing their
views, concerns and objections, and expressing the progress they noticed
in some areas of Christology.
meeting between our Churches and the Russian Orthodox Church will be
hosted by Pope Shenouda III from 13-17 December 2004, at Saint Mark
Centre, Nasr City,
Cairo. One of the main topics in
this meeting is the Christology of the Syrian Orthodox Church, as
expressed in the teachings of their highly venerated Saint, Patriarch
Severus of Antioch.
In the first
meeting of the Joint Commission for Relations between the Russian
Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East,
in Moscow (September 2001) many obstacles were removed, and several
questions raised were answered.
In the meeting
between Pope Shenouda III and H.H. Bartholomaios I the Ecumenical
Patriarch (September 2001) it was clarified that this is the mandate of
the joint commission with the Russian Church, and that any theological
agreement with them if needed should be conducted in consultation with
the Plenary Commission of the dialogue between the two Families.
Bishoy and the new co-chairman H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel of
France will continue their efforts of
reassuring the process of theological dialogue of the dialogue between
the two Families.
Official Theological Dialogue between the
Oriental Orthodox Churches and the
Church of Eritrea was officially
invited to this dialogue which was postponed because of the ordination
of Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual bishop (2 November 2003).
To follow up our
Theological dialogue with the Anglican Communion, which was suspended by
us because of the ordination of an Anglican homosexual bishop in the
USA, we discussed the matter in
light of the Lambeth Commission Report. This report was shared with us
on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury by Rt. Rev. Bishop Mouneer H.
We have noted
that this issue remains a major concern for the Anglican Communion. Once
again we affirm our position that all practice and behavior related to
marriage and sexual orientation must be in accord with the biblical and
moral teachings of our Churches.
We hope that
in the near future the Anglican Communion will solve this matter which
will enable us to resume our theological dialogue with the Anglican
The prevailing situation in the
world in general and in the Middle East in particular has been part of
our constant concern and ongoing discussions. We renew the commitment of
our Churches to peace with justice. We strongly condemn all forms and
expressions of violence and urge all to engage in processes and actions
aimed at conflict resolution through mutual love, respect and trust.
The escalation of violence and
confusion in Iraq worries us. In this situation this country is losing
its people either by killing or immigration. We urge all the citizens of
Iraq of all religions and culture to feel their responsibility towards
their country and one another. We call on all nations to help the people
to Iraq to restore their country to its independence and sovereignty
with the full participation of all Muslim and Christian communities in
We renew our calls for a return to
the peace process with a particular focus on the establishment of a
Palestinian state and the right to return for the Palestinians. True and
lasting peace will only be realized when justice and dignity is upheld
and maintained and when Israel according to U.N. Security Council
Resolutions withdraw from Arab and Palestinian territories.
We look towards the Holy Lands in
the Middle East, in which our Lord Jesus Christ was born, and pray that it may become
again a land of peace and tolerance with rights returning to the
NEXT MEETING OF THE HEADS AND THE STANDING COMMITTEE
completed this meeting, we offer prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for
guiding our deliberations and work. We ask our Lord to grant us His
grace and wisdom to continue our efforts in maintaining and preserving
the Apostolic faith and the unity of His holy Church. We pray that God
may grant to our people and to the world the hope that His peace,
justice and goodness will prevail.
We thank the
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria for its fraternal love and gracious
hospitality. We extend our thanks to all those who labored, prayed and
assisted us for the success of this meeting.
Glory be to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
St. Mark Centre of the Coptic Orthodox Church
Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt
Pope Shenouda III
Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Catholicos Aram I