This evening, the LOGOS Papal Center at the Papal Residence at St. Bishoy’s Monastery in Wadi El-Natroun hosted the opening day of the 12th General Assembly of the Middle East Churches Council, in which 17 patriarchs and church leaders participated, and a total of 21 churches represented by delegations from Eastern Orthodox and Orthodox families, Catholic and Evangelical, as well as experts and partners of the Council from various churches and ecumenical organizations in the countries from the world.
The opening activities began with a prayer led by H.H Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the world, and H.H Catholicos Aram I, the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, on behalf of the Eastern Orthodox family, at the Transfiguration Church in the Logos Centre, then the delegates headed to the great meeting hall, to start the work of the opening session.
The Secretary-General of the Middle East Council of Churches, Dr. Michel Abs, welcomed the participants, thanking H.H Pope Tawadros II and the Coptic Orthodox Church for hosting the work of the Council’s twelfth general assembly.
After that, he played a documentary, entitled “From Egypt, I called my son… the Coptic Church, the land of the martyrs and saints”, prepared by the Council’s Communication, Media and Public Relations Department, as a tribute to the St. Mark’s See chair, the Coptic Orthodox Church.
H.H Pope Tawadros II delivered the opening speech, during which he welcomed the participating churches, expressing his happiness as the Coptic Orthodox Church’s hosting the work of the General Assembly of the Council. H.H said in his speech: “Day after day, we condemn wars, persecutions and terrorism, and we ask, as Christians, the rivalries where do they come from? Those that come from the greedy human soul, those ambitions that made it fall prey to greed and envy… we find ourselves before our responsibility and the voices of our consciences run within us, so that we have the voice
of truth before us, and we say to the world: Prepare the way of the Lord and make the straight path. The Church is the guardian of morals, the altar of education, and the planter of a better life. Let us be encouraged by the words of the Lord to declare our firm positions.”
Dr. Michel Abs presented a memorial gift on behalf of the Middle East Churches Council to H.H Pope Tawadros II, which is a sculpture from the stone of Lebanon that symbolizes the hands of H.H, that resembles the hand of giving, the hand of God carrying the Coptic cross and the cross in the nursery of olive branches ending with the flame of the Holy Light.
Then the leaders of the Council delivered speeches on behalf of the four families, followed by the speeches of the leaders of churches and leaders of delegations participating in the twelfth session of the General Assembly, and concluded with the speech of the Secretary-General of the Council, Dr. Michel Abs.
The opening day concluded with a prayer from the Eastern Orthodox family led by H.H Pope Tawadros II and the members of the delegation representing the Coptic Orthodox Church.
In this event, the General Assembly takes the verse, “Be strong! It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matt. 14:27) as its slogan, as it addresses a number of Middle Eastern Christians’ issues, challenges, aspirations, and the strength of their presence in their unity, during which the participants from the four ecclesiastical families of the council will develop a future vision that ensures the promotion of the ecumenical spirit and the achievement of urgent humanitarian and social goals for all residents of the region.
The General Assembly is scheduled to conclude its twelfth session next Friday.
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